A complaint under the Anti-Terrorism Act was filed in a federal court in Washington D.C. on December 27 on behalf of 385 claimants, comprising U.S. military and civilian personnel injured or killed in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017, and their loved ones. The plaintiffs span more than 100 service members killed and wounded during the period.
The complaint, filed by law firms Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick PLLC, Sparacino PLLC and Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP alleges that G4S Holdings International and its subsidiaries, MTN and four American corporations provided funding for the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Pakistani Taliban and their allies. All of these entities were part of an Al-Qaeda led terrorist syndicate, according to the filing.
The complaint alleges that the corporations either directly made, or turned a blind eye to, 'protection payments' to the terrorist organizations in order to preserve their business in Afghanistan and divert attacks away from their own business interests.
"We believe that the evidence will show that by making "protection payments" to the Taliban, the defendants knew or recklessly disregarded that their corrupt payments would help fund attacks against Americans in Afghanistan," a statement published on the website of Sparacino PLLC said.
South African telecoms giant MTN, Africa's largest mobile operator, was also the biggest mobile operator in Afghanistan at the time.
In a statement, MTN said it is "reviewing the details of the report and is consulting its advisers" but remains of the view that "it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories and so intends to defend its position where necessary."
U.S. firms Centerra Group, DAI Global, Louis Berger Group and Janus Global Operations were among the other companies named in the suit.
G4S declined to comment on pending litigation when approached by CNBC on Thursday.