Families of Americans Killed and Injured by Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan Sue Multinational Corporations and Iran for Financing Terror Attacks

December 31, 2019

Willkie represents hundreds of American veterans and Gold Star families in suits filed against 8 multinational corporations and Iran.

On December 27, two lawsuits were filed on behalf of hundreds of Americans, including members of more than 100 Gold Star families, against eight multinational corporations and the Islamic Republic of Iran, accusing them separately of supporting a campaign of terrorism in Afghanistan that was led by al-Qaeda and carried out by the Taliban. 

In the first case, 385 Americans, including dozens of veterans and members of 127 Gold Star families, filed an Anti-Terrorism Act lawsuit against eight multinational corporations that have done business in Afghanistan. The Anti-Terrorism Act case accuses these corporations of knowingly or recklessly supporting a terrorist campaign that attacked, killed, and wounded thousands of Americans in Afghanistan.

The Anti-Terrorism Act Complaint alleges a longstanding scheme to maximize profits by providing “protection payments” to the very terrorists who were murdering American service members. According to the Complaint, some of the corporate defendants were hired by the U.S. Government to provide security, others were in Afghanistan to provide telecommunications, logistics, or other support services. The Complaint alleges that what all the defendants had in common was the decision to pay off known terrorists so that their business interests would be left alone. The allegations in the Complaint show that these payments violated U.S. law and policy, and they fueled violence and corruption in direct opposition to the efforts of thousands of American military and civilian personnel.

The second case is a lawsuit filed by 503 Americans, including veterans and members of 183 Gold Star families, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Iran’s alleged material support of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorists operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including weapons, funding, and training.

In both cases, the plaintiffs are Americans who were severely physically injured or whose loved ones were killed or severely physically injured in Afghanistan by Taliban terrorist attacks that were planned by, authorized by, and sometimes jointly committed with al-Qaeda. The filing of this litigation follows an extensive investigation, including thousands of hours working on the matter and analyzing hundreds of transactions in Afghanistan from 2001 through the present. The complaints are available at https://afghanistan.terrorismcase.com/

The case has received extensive media coverage, including:

Willkie, Kellogg Huber Put 8 Multinationals in the Crosshairs for Afghanistan Payouts, American Lawyer, January 7, 2020

Lawsuit alleges private companies hired Taliban members for security, Fox News, December 28, 2019

U.S., International Contractors Sued for Allegedly Paying Protection Money to Taliban, The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2019

Representing the plaintiffs, Willkie is co-counsel in a legal team that also includes Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, PLLC, and Sparacino PLLC.

The Willkie team is led by partners Michael Gottlieb and Randall Jackson, and associate Nicholas Reddick.