Soldiers’ Families Sue Companies That Allegedly Paid Taliban for Protection
WASHINGTON – The families of 143 U.S. soldiers and government contractors sued a group of multinational corporations last week in Washington, D.C. accusing them of indirectly funding the Taliban insurgents who killed and injured their relatives.
In the complaint, filed in Washington, the plaintiff families claim the eight corporations paid the Taliban protection money while they worked on Afghanistan reconstruction projects.
The insurgents then used the money to obtain arms and attack American troops between 2009 and 2017, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The plaintiffs said the corporations were not concerned with the fate of the American soldiers because they had “lucrative businesses in post-9/11 Afghanistan, and they all paid the Taliban to refrain from attacking their business interests.”
The defendants include Centerra Group, Environmental Chemical Corporation, G4S, DAI Global, Janus Global Operations, Black & Veatch Special Projects Corporation, the Louis Berger Group and MTN Group.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Anti-Terrorism Act which authorizes civil remedies for U.S. citizens who are injured through acts of “international terrorism,” which the law defines as any violent, criminal act intended to influence government policy or intimidate a civilian population.
The companies could have sought U.S. military assistance to protect them but decided it was easier to pay the Taliban to maximize their profits, according to the lawsuit.
They “rationalized their payments to the Taliban by framing them as a necessary cost of business,” the lawsuit says.
The companies allegedly paid Taliban agents in cash by funneling money through a network of subcontractors and private security firms. Some Taliban “guards” were paid regular salaries up through 2014, the lawsuit states.
At the same time, the Taliban were strengthening their alliance with al-Qaeda as they plotted attacks against U.S. and allied forces, according to the lawsuit.
It adds, “Those protection payments aided and abetted terrorism by directly funding an al-Qaeda-backed Taliban insurgency that killed and injured thousands of Americans.”
August Cabrera, the widow of U.S. Army LTC David E. Cabrera, said in a statement, “This case is about obtaining justice for my husband’s death and the lives of so many others who were killed and injured by the terrorists in Afghanistan.”
Her husband was a military social worker killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 29, 2011.
One of the law firms representing the plaintiffs is Washington-based Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick, which also filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of Gold Star families and veterans against the Iranian government.
The second lawsuit accuses Iran of supporting al-Qaeda and the Taliban with money, weapons and training.
Attorneys for the American plaintiffs in the lawsuits say their allegations are based on information from confidential witnesses, declassified intelligence, media reports, internal corporate documents and congressional hearings.
As far back as 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified to Congress that “protection money” paid by American contractors was “one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan paid more than $1 billion over 10 years to three of the top contractors, DAI Global, the Louis Berger Group Inc. and Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., according to the lawsuit.
Contractors named as defendants have declined to comment directly on the lawsuit. However, a Black & Veatch spokesman gave a statement to CNN that said, “During our work in Afghanistan, we provided support to our client, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and followed the directives of the U.S. government agencies that we served. We are proud of our record in successfully completing a number of projects in Afghanistan that helped more than double the amount of reliable power available to the country’s hospitals, schools, businesses and homes under its contract with USAID.”
In The News
Southern California Gas Company agreed to pay $1.8 billion this week to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of residents... Read More
Southern California Gas Company agreed to pay $1.8 billion this week to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of residents of the Aliso Canyon area who were forced from their homes by a 2015 explosion and leak at a natural gas storage facility. The lawsuit accused... Read More
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified Wednesday in the trial of fallen tech... Read More
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified Wednesday in the trial of fallen tech star Elizabeth Holmes, saying the entrepreneur misled him into believing she was on the verge of rolling out a blood-testing breakthrough that he hoped would help... Read More
Former President Donald Trump accuses his niece and The New York Times of deceit and conspiracy to obtain his tax... Read More
Former President Donald Trump accuses his niece and The New York Times of deceit and conspiracy to obtain his tax returns in a lawsuit he filed Tuesday. The lawsuit asks for $100 million in compensation after the former president says he was victimized by an “insidious... Read More
DALLAS (AP) — A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of a new Texas law... Read More
DALLAS (AP) — A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of a new Texas law all but dared supporters of the state's near-total ban on the procedure to try making an early example of him by filing a lawsuit — and... Read More
WASHINGTON - Lawyers for AT&T and a host of utility providers and public safety officials squared off against the FCC... Read More
WASHINGTON - Lawyers for AT&T and a host of utility providers and public safety officials squared off against the FCC in a District of Columbia courtroom on Friday in a battle over a Trump-era regulatory change that expanded the use of Wi-Fi on the 6GHz spectrum... Read More
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A single line in Netflix sensation “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is expected to rake in the... Read More
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A single line in Netflix sensation “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is expected to rake in the statues at this weekend’s 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, could wind up costing the streaming giant a cool $5 million thanks to a defamation lawsuit filed Thursday... Read More