4 years, 12 months ago
From ABC News:
A scathing Senate report says US contractors in Afghanistan have hired warlords, “thugs,” Taliban commanders and even Iranian spies to provide security at vulnerable US military outposts in Afghanistan. The report, published by the Senate Armed Services Committee, says lax oversight and “systemic failures” have led to “grave risks’ to US forces, including instances where contractors have employed Afghan subcontractors who were “linked to murder, kidnapping and bribery, as well as Taliban and anti-coalition activities.” The chairman of the committee, Sen. Carl Levin, D.-Michigan, said the report was evidence that the US needs to reduce its reliance on contractors. “We need to shut off the spigot of US dollars flowing into the pockets of warlords and power brokers who act contrary to our interests,” said Sen. Levin. The committee reviewed roughly 125 unclassified Department of Defense security contracts between 2007 and 2009, and found that there are some 26,000 private security contractors operating in Afghanistan, the majority of whom are Afghan nationals. The review found “systemic failures” of the military oversight for contracts, including the hiring of what Levin called “many too many” security contractors who had been improperly vetted, improperly trained or were not provided weapons.
In some cases, companies were awarded contracts though they had no ability to provide the services needed. In those cases, companies then quickly hired local nationals without proper vetting or security checks. The chaotic system left US facilities and personnel vulnerable to attack. The report found that some Afghan security guards simply walked off their posts at remote forward operating bases.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the notion of hiring locals to perform force protection for the Marines would have been met with laughter and scoffing. To be sure, the Marines embedded with the IPs, and hired Iraqis as interpreters. They also hired the so-called Sons of Iraq to perform neighborhood watch and guard duty for gated communities. But as for force protection proper, the Marines used Marines.
The Senator can pontificate all he wants about the need to stop the flow of dollars into the pockets of untrustworthy Afghans. The troubled and troubling Hamid Karzai has already made illegal the hiring of non-Afghan contractors for anything except embassy force protection. The puppet, as the Taliban call him, doesn’t very much like answering to the puppet master. It’s almost as if he knows that the puppet master is looking for an exit.
You know there aren’t enough troops when you hire foreign spies to perform your force protection. We should end all discussion of military doctrine surrounding force protection in our military schools. It’s meaningless. And no, just because I’m discussing force protection doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in force projection. One doesn’t exclude the other, and the exercise of a little more force projection and killing the enemy while off of huge FOBs would mean the need for less force protection of U.S. troops by foreign spies.
In other words, if we were off of FOBs and if we didn’t have such a bloated support to infantry ratio, do you think this discussion would be happening right now?