« Freakonomics Radio

432. When Your Safety Becomes My Danger

2020-09-24 | 🔗

The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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flicked areas in some of the world's garden spots, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, and these days The executive director of the centre on illicit networks and transnational organised crime, also known as Hintock so Peters still focused on Afghanistan, a particular focus or Reconstruction projects run by: U S and other western firms that have bill highways, hospitals and schools and while paying protection money is a terrible model. She says it often is the model she recalls. The story of a construction manager working there Then he got a phone call. One day from one of his team members saying the Taliban just fired a couple of our policies and our project nobody's been heard, and so he called up the Taliban commander and said: what's the problem, you told us one can attack us any more, and he said now. Nobody got we intentionally messed. But your payments do. You need
over to the a market and send me my money, and he said: oh, yes, I'm so sorry and went over and paid the money run away for the Taliban. Peter says this is standard operating procedure, So the Taliban Wood fire warning shots when the bills were do and they who had often launch nonlethal attacks just before a contract was due in that seem to be an effort to try and get their security contracts renewed, and that would perpetuate
completely corrupt system underneath what Gretchen Peters calls this completely corrupt system lies a fundamental economic question. The question is: do you want to be economically active in territory that is controlled by the Taliban or not? That is the economist on you shortly and if he D want to be active in that territory, you ve got to make a somewhat in the interest of the Taliban. If I don't get any economic benefit from your company being there, then they will attack you by any means possible. But if the Taliban gets an economic benefit from, let's say your construction company in the form of protection money, what happens to my company if I dont pay and
What happens to the? U S: military personnel, who are also on the ground, a lawsuit brought by the families of U S. Soldiers killed by the Taliban says the companies who pay protection money are in part, responsible, those debts. Today on for economics, radio, when your safety becomes my danger, it is a messy, complicated in heartbreaking issue. You probably can't say I don't care what happens to my employees, even though you don't want it to happen and you're gonna calls him harm to innocent people. The headline was seventeen held outside Kabul in a suicide bomber, and I collapsed, and these that he's gone it's coming up in just a minute.
friends, stature endemic productions. This is great dynamics, radio broadcasts and explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your home. Stephen definite into doesn't seven. The Taliban kidnapped twenty one south korean missionaries in Afghanistan. Many countries, including the? U S, do not officially pay ransoms, but South Korea does, in this case a reply. Ten to twenty million dollars and the hostages were promptly released. The Taliban an advertising, the use this money to fund their insurgency against? U S and other coalition troops, the threat of kidnapping in conflict zones.
Explains why most fortune, five hundred companies by kidnap insurance, but in most places, including Afghanistan, the real money comes from not kidnapping people, Well, the way: I've? U kidnapping, is away way of backing up demand by protection, racket, again is the economist on your shortly and from Kings College London, you minimize the kidnapping by making sure the people who control the territory get a certain flow of funds funds in the form of protection payment. That is actually ninety. Nine percent of the business. So it is difficult, Lebrun behaviour. As long as everyone pays, there is no need to kidnap anybody short Linda's written a book called kidnap inside the ransom business. She studies what she calls tricky markets. I started off somali pirates.
What really struck me about piracy was how many happy and they were Oh generally, nonviolent. It was from the moment that the pirates got on bored on how well the trades functioned while somali piracy he ordered. Taliban protection schemes may be tricky markets. They are fundamentally markets. I do find that if they work, then it because somebody is making them work, somebody's, creating institutions that ten, what can be very tricky one of trains inter repeated interactions, is about creating self enforcing contracts, self enforcing contracts, meaning a protection arrangement paid by shipping company or a construction company. The company agrees to pay the protector as long as their workers and projects are attacked and the protector won't attack as long as they're being paid who supplies this protection differs from
these to place in some countries. It's the government itself. Sometimes it's a criminal cartel with government connections or, as in the case of action, in Somalia, its terrorist group that provides the kind of services that governments typically provide protecting property rights, for instance, and enforcing laws. This gives them popular support and therefore, the leverage to set up their own tricky markets when there is a famine and southern Somalia and you won't get relief supplies and basically, you have to contract the tucking at, and you have to accept that fifty percent of the supplies will disappear so
The question is: do you want to provide relief supplies knowing that a large proportion of it will end up in the hands of the ship? Up, if you say no than there is no way of delivering the aid in most places, Portland has found the relationship between protection agreements and kidnapping is predictable. A kidnapping is the result of a failure of the protection protocol? That's right. I tell you're trying to establish a protection protocol, but in general, it's better for them to take their protection. Money protection not bother anybody, and so, even if you are working in a country that has an endemic kidnapping problem, it is possible for companies to keep their employees safe from kidnap by making.
I'm concession to whoever poses the risks to them. When you say some concession, usually in the form of some protection payment, yes well, you'd frame met in terms of perhaps a corporate social responsibility programme. All you do a joint sure I do some community engagement. There are lots of words for this. The protection contract is implicit, it's never spelt out. It is through such contracting the more layers you can put between yourself and the warlord the better. This is going to work in terms of being caught by the media. It's all about plausible deniability, So would tax be a better word generally, let us effectively what it is, but if people are not really show whether
The cartel law or the rebel group or the insurgent have the capacity to actually kidnap. They might skipper Protection Payment, which is effectively tax evasion, and then they decide that they have to prove that they can do it and then they will and in a way kidnap friend, some really good way of backing on that kind of because nobody needs to get hurt now of all the criminal enterprises and cartels and pirates that you ve researched. How does the Taliban com hair in terms of their efficacy and organisation and delivery to execute these plans will control a lot of territory and they use terror change to grow, very high value crops. I drugs
for that very well resourced, and they also have a certain amount of legitimacy with the people whose territory they control and therefore there are very effective. Levering violence, and it is something that the? U S, government has recognised in percentage. I can tell you that Taliban were making about twenty five percent of their budget in protection payments. That again, is Gretchen. Peters of sin. Talk an absolute dollars. I can tell you that it was tens of millions of dollars and the rest of their budget, coming from where drugs nations other crime, her organization, this mission is to understand exactly how this plays out. We do a lot of work with the: U S, government to identify How criminal and other illegal networks are moving.
Goods are moving money across a transnational sphere of operation. In particular, I was helping them to try and understand how adversaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan for financing themselves, which led to the protection money you who s contractors, in other words, development companies. And organisations that were funded by EU s tax payers to do development work in Afghanistan were making protection. Payment. To the insurgency in Afghanistan in order to keep their operation safe. One consequence of this protection is that it deflected the Talibans aggression to other targets included, U S, soldiers and other military personnel that at least Is the allegation in a lawsuit file last year in federal court in Washington DC I'm work He, a research consultant to class action suit by gold, star families and wounded vats and other american personnel
who are alleging that these companies were illegally funding our adversaries and undermining everything we were trying to do in Afghanistan and provide the insurgency with critical funds that were used to finance attacks against. U S troops, you re! In short, the U S. Government provides money to local contractors in Afghanistan to build roads, schools and bridges as part of the counter insurgency campaign, but the contractors must pay off insurgents to avoid having these projects attacked. Talk about that actually works. So often what was happening was that a big american contracting firms would get. Multi million dollar contract to build roads, schools or hospitals somewhere enough. Afghanistan and they a word subcontract local
construction firms to help support that work and subcontract local trucking firms, to bring in the materials and then they would also to have security, and They would hire local security teams and there wasn't adequate due diligence b. Done on whose some of those Contractors were, and in many cases the sub contractors were either loyal to the insurgency or making payments to commanders in the insurgency in order to keep their projects functioning without attack. Were the western fur directly making protection payments to the insurgents. Or was it all done through the middle men, the sub contractors? I can say that it was never made directly by the Americans. I can say that it was usually going through a middle man who is a local, but it's fast.
Julian an accurate to say that the companies didn't know this was going on? There were lots of report. About this in the media there were invested nations by USAID, by the defence departments and by other oversight and investigative organizations? So it was, widely known by about two thousand and eleven that this was a problem. Peters is research, argues, that protection money collected by disparate Taliban commanders was part of a larger, centralized plan to destabilize the afghan government and attack. U S troops, yes, the towel. Man published a code of conduct which outlined at it fairly granular level, way in which the commanders had to pay a percentage of what they were arning back to the leadership and real they revealed how important these local fun raising activities were to their war effort. Peter says the Taliban also
required other concessions. One the defendants in the lawsuit is a south african telecom firm called empty in at the Taliban. Request. They reportedly agreed to shut down self service at night. The Taliban were convinced that the Americans were listening to them tea and admitted to both pay in protection money to avoid getting their cell towers blown up, but also to shutting off certain tower key areas at the request of the Taliban and to avoid getting their towers blown up. We asked empty and all the other defendants in the lawsuit for an interview or statement. They all either declined or failed to acknowledge the request in court filings empty. In argues that shutting down self service at night was a long standing accommodation in Afghanistan elsewhere in the court documents
GM and the other defendants argued that the links between any alleged protection payments and Taliban attacks on U S military personnel or to tenuous several defendants even claim that the Afghan some kind factors accused of wrong doing came recommended by the? U S government. So you can see how difficult and complicated the situation was, if you were say the? U S government. So my name's Carmel occasion, I finish fairly recently being the special assistant for strategy to determine our joint she's staff, he's also work for the State Department. I've spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, rack and a few other places like Honduras, often doing complex, sables asian kind of work, and he developed a fondness for Afghanistan. People see get addicted Afghanistan, the mountains, the rivers, the forests, it tends to take ones breath away and there's also
the afghan people, so how does Malaysian think about the complicated balance of? U S? Reconstruction efforts in a place like Afghanistan? Now none of this is perfect right if you're to eleven insurgency or criminal propyl probably have an attacks wherever you are, so what you're Trying to do is to make sure, just as you would with corruption, that that level of taxation is low, and then on trying to see that when this project is done, there is having the effect that I wanted to have. The kids are going to school that people travelling on the road. Those positive benefits that I'm at least hope you're gonna outweigh whenever the other getting from it. But you'll. Remember that Gretchen Peters from sin talk argues. This sort of taxation should not be considered a prerequisite. You dont have to pay bribes to stay safe in that part of the world.
There were many organisations that didn't pay bribes and were able to complete their work. How did those firms succeed, without paying bribes. What did they do differently? They are innovations that were able to function successfully got in a sense already from the community, by engaging with community leaders getting thereby unto the project whether it was a school or a road or sell tower that the community wanted, when we asked Gretchen Peters, to name someone who was very good. Getting this kind of community by and she named Khartoum occasion. I thought: well, I'm gonna work with People who were know that know that I think is unacceptable for them to work with the Taliban written another. I'm trying to check to make sure that's not happening. Location is a realist and he appreciates the fact that benefits come with costs if everything from canal clearing besieged distribution,
abolition of cooperatives, painting of road building of schools. My overall experience was that the good of a fairly well run project. Or out ways whatever the Taliban may be benefiting from it. But that said, I never thought I was gonna pay off the Taliban to do something: that's dangerous game. So how did more occasion typically get things done without buying into what Gretchen Peters calls a completely corrupt system Point number one would be the works through the locals, identify a partner for you can work with well and a partner he cares about. What's going on in their community, you probably want some people, it have some influence whose building someone up on your own is a big investment of effort and has its own perils associated with what else does location suggest? Dont go to places that are over
really dangerous, where Europe can have decent oversight, cost us freedom to the other thing. Is you really have a moral compass when the end is gonna, condemn you and how does more occasion rate his own success so I don't know that I was all that much more successful and projects and stuff than a want. Other people were in, but I can't say that might ass was cheaper than the other path? Just I was going to follow that path. Still more occasion appreciates and acknowledges how murky such operations, B, I may have been unaware of something where some payment was made. I dont think I was, but even if I was what about the girls, schools were built, what about the others Those are open up all up and down armed sir. The problem with arguing it is that it makes it sound, like you, think, it's all ok to pay people off or something I don't think that's right
So far we ve been hearing from the administrative and analytical sides of american reconstruction in Afghanistan. How about the actual reconstruction side so my name is Steve Young. I was construction superintendent, then working in the paving, construction industry since high school- and I got to know opportunity to go to work in Afghanistan, build roads and one clinic bridges for twelve years. Yeah on who is from Massachusetts, had never worked in a conflict zone before trial. You a little bit of research, but nothing was to prepare me for what I was about to experience when I first arrived in two thousand to we stated this place called it. Inland was across the street from that International security force. This was in Kabul, the afghan capital and there were wrong
it's that went over our heads at night in two of the guests were Germany's and they were walking around cobble and one of them trip, the land mine in blew off his legs and his body trial. Help him and he also died from a land mine. So that was my introduction to Afghanistan. And wound up working for the louisbourg. Your group, a huge global engineering and construction company based in New Jersey. They have since been acquired by W S P global one project Yon worked on was a fourteen hundred mile highway Circling the interior of Afghanistan called the ring road. It was an obvious target for the opposition. From the very beginning, there was a thought from the Taliban if we could stop the road construction don't just go away. I mean they understood later on that the Americans
her, tenacious and you're, just gonna keep working even if people were killed and stuff was blown up there. Just gonna keep working. The Louis pressure group is one of the defendants in the class action lawsuit accused of paying protection money that the Taliban used to attack american Troops- Steve Yon, interestingly cited by both sides in this law, based on interviews he's given in the past the plaintiffs say he ignored Colleges collusion with the Taliban, the defendant say he saw no direct evidence of payments as yonder bribes trying to get local by and for the highway section he was working on. You can once again appreciate how complicated things were. I had meet with the mayor many many times and the governor he was difficult. He was trying to play ball
sides. No one really knew if the Americans were going to bail out or the Taliban were going successful and then village elders huge deal with the village elders who try to smooth things over for all these foreigners coming in their when it came to hide, bring or working with locals Yon acknowledges some then probably were members of the Taliban. Here they were identified as Taliban were not militants. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit find this decision. Action, not so relevant, but to yawn it's important. After speaking with these people many times got the impression they were more like very soon quakers? In this sense, it shunned modern ways, but TAT was fined for dinner. Just this farmers and want to be left alone and yawned says that he did not enjoy each those members of the Taliban for protection or security,
no money was directly paid for those purposes. Let me no one made it clear that hey these the Taliban, guys. If we pay then some money don't make our roads security. I never experience that Johnson. Does he was in a good position to know this was in charge of all the finances? Are the quality control But of course this was an enormous project with layers of sub contracting in both construction insecurity, the subcontractors hired locals from the community, seven hundred or more workers. We had south african security, maybe three hundred
afghan guards and if there was protection money being paid to the Taliban or someone else Yon says it wasn't necessarily effective on just one road project: a sixty mile highway in eastern Afghanistan, Yon lost sixteen workers, thirteen dead and three missing over fifteen month period. Its worth noting that highway construction was generally the most dangerous work in Afghanistan, accounting for thirty percent of the more than two thousand contractors killed and nearly three thousand wounded. The ring road remember was a massive project covering fourteen hundred miles for some like Steve Yon. The Taliban was heard the only concern or compromise. There was war, a word he was indicted for killing at a hundred plus people.
And we hired a bunch of these soldiers that he had and incorporate them into our security. We convinced him to be a sub contractor and he got his guys. Is local people to do some construction work and he was supervising it. There was So the famed her Conny group known for its close ties to the Taliban and known for its violence. They word ambush us and so on. I do know that her colleague group through the: U S military briefings that they were being paid, to try to disrupt the road to try to set ideas in a new four times. Article four which Steve Young was interviewed, the reporter claim to have traced money from One of yawns road projects to a south african security sub contractor to a local middle man and ultimately, to a member of the Han Chinese Young told us he person
We didn't know about this, everybody that we talk to an all the village elders these sub governors and even the governor of horse province, as I know, nobody had any direct dealing with the hook. Group Yon also says the dollar yours, cited in the times and in the lawsuit are unrealistically high? There's no way that my projects could funnel off that sort of money. And not be noticed. There's no way. He also notes that, due to the strategic importance of the ring road, there was significant oversight. There was a couple audits by the: U S: government, Nick Refined, nothing irregular at all. They gave his high marks the office of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, which perform these audits
did find that billions of dollars across all projects, though not young specifically had been lost to corruption and bribes. These payoffs, they wrote exacerbated conflicts and bolstered support for insert This doesn't necessarily mean Steve. Yon is wrong: it just means that the Gretchen Peters argument is right. Completely corrupt system. Again, there is nothing simple about the: U S: reconstruction of Afghanistan, and Carter occasion for one suggests looking at the actual accomplishments of such work. I'm happy to argue with anyone who thinks that the ring road construction was a bad investment. Yes, there is corruption, and yes, the maiden inside it is perfect. But do you really think it gravel, poorly built road between Kandahar in Kabul is better
Having erode the people can get up in force in five hours were women can get to the clinic will weaken blue transportation logistics on out of all the, things we do. That is probably the best investments that we make but as with most investments when there's a winner, there's you Finally, a loser to buy. Now we heard from several parties involved in the complex ecosystem of the? U S is long stint in Afghanistan after the break will hear from a military widow. Honestly, I don't get it. I just don't. Let's coming up red after this, also Reaganomics radio is part of the growing for economics radio Network, our other podcast include new stupid questions and people. I mostly admire you can subscribe to them wherever you listen to economics, radio, we'll be right back.
Hello, hello, I'm looking for a site that I hope the Pike ass vaccination. Where we talk about news, we talk about politics and where we keep you informed while laughing through the pain, it's a weekly This pact has it stays on top of current events, but it doesn't leave you crying by the end of the EP is owed every week. I invite some my favorite Canadians on the show people like John Hodgman Debate about Veil, Robin mainly due to free letter, John love it bear today. Thurston, you get the point, look out for a new objective explanation: every Thursday, listen and subscribe to make the nation on Sticker Apple Pie passport, we refer cast when we first started working on this story about whether protection money was paid to the Taliban by western firms, doing reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and whether the Taliban than use that money to fund attacks on you servicemen. Thought of a story Steve lead at once.
Steve Lever is my for economics friend and co author he's an economist at the University of Chicago. The story goes like this, so you ve got a car. You don't want your car to be stolen. That's right! This story has to do with car theft. Back in the Lee Nineteen Eightys, there was a common anti theft device called the club. You could walk down. The street you'd see every single car one after another. It would have the club on its steering wheel. It was essentially a steering wheel lock, which meant that even if you broke into the car you'd ever hard time driving it away. Interestingly, the clubs inventor was said to have been inspired by his service in the korean WAR when he used a chain to lock the steering wheel of military vehicles. So anyway, this club anti
tat device, the real ideas that not only did make it harder, still your car, but it was really really visible in the thieves we're supposed to see those clubs. The hope was that if thieves could see the club they wouldn't bother to break your window in the first place, not that's great, idea from the perspective of the person who doesn't want their car stolen? but it turns out to not be such a great idea from the perspective of the neighbour of the person who has a club, because if you think about the decision that a potential Otto the looks at they see a whole block, cars lined up and maybe there's one car. They want a little bit more than another one, but if it's got a club well, it's not like to go and say I don't want to be an auto thief, I'm going to go work at Mcdonald's; instead, they they say well, I'm going to steal the next car. So if it prevents my car from being stolen, it means that someone else's car is more likely to be stolen from a source of perspective. The club is no good. The club is really,
how you transfer the risk that you bear on your neighbours and that what economists call a negative externalities. That's when a decision that I make has a negative impact on another person who doesn't get to be part of that decision. My neighbors dont get directly compensated when I buy the club they get directly hurt by the fact that the club is shifting crime from me to them. This idea of risk deflection essentially the argument being made in the class action lawsuit? more than two hundred: U S military personnel and their families who were wounded or killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They argue that western contractors, by paying off the Taliban, to protect them, own employees provided the funding and the motivation for the Taliban to attack. U S. Soldiers instead as we ve been hearing today. The circumstances,
and ass. They were not only dangerous but complicated and murky. One question worth asking: what was the relationship between say? A? U S: construction, firm and the? U S military! If you want to challenge the protector, then you can do that, but that requires a military effort. That, again, is on your shortened, the economist who studies criminal markets. You can clear the territory of the Taliban if they want to commit the resources and then the protection problem modest. Pay, because then you control that territory. But that was not the rout the! U S. Government took so in the early days. There was only maybe what lesson eighth I send in s troops in country and that again Steve Yon, a? U S: construction, superintendent, who spent twelve years enough understand building highways and clinics. So there's no, way: we're gonna call on the Eu S to secure our roads, and that was not their mission that remain the case. Either
as the? U S sent more troops to Afghanistan into two thousand haven't twelve there? U S military didn't, provide direct security, but more oversight. For instance they got intel. There's gonna be an attack, so this at the drone low the fly over the camps of the bad guys now that they are being watched, that kind of stuff I never more patrol up and down the road, but we will respond support for our own security. So what is impossible is to have three things at the same time. Do business in such a territory, thus extra legally government keep your people safe and act, right, the, if you know easily go in there and just say, go build something: keep your people safe and tell us when you finished it, you shouldn't be surprised.
If they make some arrangements that will keep that people safe and that will allow them to complete their contract. So there's got to be cooperation, you can say: okay, we just don't want to be there. That's fine! You probably can't say I don't care what happens to my employees because I'll just start getting killed exactly. I think pro alot of people didn't realize exactly what compromises would be necessary to deliver on these promises of reconstruction. When we look at the reconstruction effort, was that the? U S, government decided to pay contractors to work in areas controlled by afghan insurgents, but also decided that the? U S military in Afghanistan would not be used to fully protect those workers. The lawsuit alleges that the construction firms paid off the Taliban or protection, and then what protectors
use money to extend the territory generally? That is the problem in this case, if you pay the Taliban protection money, you would expect them to invest it and extending their territory and therefore to clash with the use military. Maybe I'm super naive band aid is unimaginable that this is a conscious decision that is August career. She is a mother I have to get to my own fourteen and fifteen, and then I have what I call my bonus cuts which her Dave's first kids and they are twenty two and twenty she's. Also, a writer working on her first book. It's a memoir called a bad widow is about my story of my relationship with Dave before and after he died, Dave also known as Army lieutenant Colonel David Correira, actually join. The military as clinical social worker working directly with soldiers
My family is eventually got his phd, also in also in social work. A specialty was troubled, adolescence boys of which there are many in the military mean Peck about job security. He loved helping people. He was so good at it. He was first deployed to Bosnia in the ninety nine these and then he went to Iraq in two thousand sex with a striker brigade. Basically, on the ground forces, he was the sole clinical person for, I believe thirty five hundred soldiers. The numbers were just astounding and then Afghanistan and two thousand eleven he had volunteered to go matches volunteered. He had fought through, I believe, six levels command to be allowed to go to Afghanistan to work with the soldiers darkly. So what would he
surely do when he is there as one of very very few of his type, a personnel among so many other military personnel sail to Wade, get on a convoy and have a four hours out to forward operating. They says an haven spend twelve to fifteen hours. Seen soldiers were come in and offer combat the soldier that had just seen as best friend blown up. They can sit with him for an hour and get his brain to no longer be triggered by the memory, so tell us and what you know about the circumstances of his death the night before he was killed. Her on the phone and deciding on tape, Macomber under the fog and responsibly for our aid in a side you for sand eels target on your back that whole for hours- and you say- it's fine. This is the route, we always tape and they said great, so you know about it, and so does everybody else.
And I was rape. Afghanistan is eight nine hours I had from DC. I look up about two in the morning, panicked that something was wrong and I went back to sleep again, and went on and one of the rules when your husband places you never ever read the news, because why it'll just torment, you mean you're, getting reports that people being killed basis had been blown up and you never know features So I violated my rule and I looked up having to post and the headline at the top of it. Was seventeen cold outside Kabul and suicide bomber, and I collapsed, and these that he's gone and my dad comes around and now we know a term. It's fine like we don't know in less than twenty four hours later I had you know, just blue uniforms working at my driveway boy, but I knew I knew he was gone. There was there was no question in my mind: What do you know about the killers
do you know much definitively about who carried out the attack? I know- That the Taliban immediately took responsibility for their release, the name other bomber and my cousin. I spent a couple years, praying for him relay to teach a five and seven year old, how to forgive the personal held their daddy and I didn't know how to do. It said the best I can so. The lawsuit in which you are a plaintive discusses the arrangement of mostly western firms paying the Taliban and others for protect. I'm curious, whether you knew anything of that arrangement or that tape of arrangement before your husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Now, honestly, I Could never have imagined that there would be
I never imagined people could be that palace and heartless and cruel and understand how I can live with themselves. Honestly, I don't get it. I just Why is participation in this case important to you personally, think rebuilding is a bad thing. I mean he's where's him down say that countries and donations and education systems on health care in Africa given that we such high go can fix it, and so I don't the problem with that. I just don't want corporations the cedars as a viable way of doing business in a day of believed and make the difference and he was doing at once what our one family at the time and the aid. That the choices, Ruby man that paid then rest would have really upset him and.
I want to change what business is done in war zones. That's what this is about. Four minutes I will, to get away with this, because I think no one is paying attention August Kabila's sentiment that Afghan Stan deserves, at the very least the fruits of this reconstruction will share but everyone we spoke with, including Gretchen Peters of sin. Talk one of the heart Just critics of how the reconstruction was carried out? I have always supported helping to rebuild Afghanistan its economy has been completely shattered, so it's going to need international development aid, however, Aid has to be distributed at a sustainable pace, and I think some of the programmes that worth thought up for Afghanistan were too ambitious and the amount money flowing in. There was too large to be properly managed. Also Steve, Yon Construction superintend.
There are changes were well founded. It's just that. I think it was a little bit too much too quick and cardinal occasion, formerly of the State Department and the joint chiefs death toll is partly the too much money was poured into quickly, partly just too much honey period over all at the height of things, they were probably fifty or so projects going on at once. There wasn't enough oversight for all of it. Lawsuits like the one we discussed today, have made it through the legal system before, but the plaintiffs, if they clear this first hurdle still have a long way to go, and it's made tougher by the fact that the anti Terrorism ACT under which they have brought the lawsuit only applies to organisations that have been designated by the State Department as foreign terrorist organizations or F, the Hockney network wasn't declared, and after until two thousand twelve after the occurrence of many incidents,
this lawsuit, the pakistani Taliban, was listed as next year. In two thousand and ten, but the afghan Taliban has never been listed, even though sniff test would suggest that is ludicrous is from an american perspective. Even though it was recently reported that Russia aid Taliban linked militants bounties to kill you S, troops in Afghanistan, So why wasn't the afghan Taliban listed as a foreign terrorist organisation one? consideration is that it is illegal for the. U S: government negotiate with an empty shell, and U S did, Indeed begin negotiations with the Taliban and back in February they signed a peace deal. Basically, it is impossible to get peace in Afghanistan without some sort of level of accommodation with the Taliban.
On your short, lend again the decision by the- U S, government, to negotiate with the Taliban themselves, she says is absolutely and Commission of the ability of that organization to deliver violence on a vast scale enough to trouble the? U S military. So I think the winning the deal includes it in fourteen months from February that were specifically withdraw our forces Khartoum occasion again in return, the Taliban response to stop supporting Al Qaeda move forward in a political settlement with government move towards a ceasefire, and so that's the direction right now. I think that there is a chance for peace, because I think that would help and if we want to leave
I think, there's Taliban who do want peace and are willing to cooperate with government. Indeed, just a couple weeks ago after we spoke with Mark Asian, Afghanistan's government began direct peace talks with the Taliban, the first after nearly twenty years of fighting. These talks were broken by the. U S, government. Now this peace process can be a long, arduous trail. You didn't have to write a new constitution. Probably they have decided to structure there are forces should be have decide who gets to rule didn't want the marks of a kind of marks and have decide on the role of Islam in the country, which is gonna, be dramatic. So this is gonna be difficult and it may fail anywhere along the line. The lawsuit that August Correira and her co plaintiffs are bringing against the Louisbourg the group empty and in several other firms is trying to change how such companies operate in conflict zones.
The big question may be, whether the? U S, government will change its approach on your shortly again say it is a political decision. It was, after all, the government that first sent troops to Afghanistan, to fight terrorism and then organised and funded the reconstruction, and then food, unwilling or unable to protect the employees of those firms. If you want to be in territory that is controlled by the Taliban want to create major infrastructural, and it can only happen with the toleration off the Taliban. If that's what you want to do, then that is the price that you have to pay and we would then view unfair to sue the companies for delivering on their contract reveal naivete about it. I asked August Correira Lou,
widow of Lieutenant Colonel David Correira, how she thinks about assigning blame for her husband's death between the construction firms, the, U S, government and, of course, the killers themselves or saps. I I mean not to put too fine a point on it, But I'd like to understand it, I will I admit that I understand less now than I did the night I met Dave and I wish I could these six people are responsible for this. We should go after them that I know it's too complicated. To give us some plants. Suddenly a long time to deal with an island and she's in section. Sixty Scrape cited is one hundred seventy three, so I have to walk pretty far. Intersection succeeded get to him
and I dont know what her sitting in his grave site or walking past all the other ones. That's our show for today we'll be back with new episode next week until then take care of yourself, and if you can someone else too economics, radio is produced by stature and w productions. This episode was produced by Matt Hickey. Our staff also includes Ellison, Craig Low Gregg Ribbon Zack Le Pens Daphne Chen married, Duke and Cornwallis are in turn is immaterial and we had help this week from Nellie Osborne, our theme song is MR fortune by the hitchhikers. All the other music was composed by Luis Gara. You can subscribe to frequent radio and any podcast up our entire
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Transcript generated on 2020-09-24.