Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Leaked Memo: Afghan ‘Burn Pit’ Could Wreck Troops’ Hearts, Lungs

Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room

For years, U.S. government agencies have told the public, veterans and Congress that they couldn’t draw any connections between the so-called “burn pits” disposing of trash at the military’s biggest bases and veterans’ respiratory or cardiopulmonary problems. But a 2011 Army memo obtained by Danger Room flat-out stated that the burn pit at one of Afghanistan’s largest bases poses “long-term adverse health conditions” to troops breathing the air there.

The unclassified memo (.jpg), dated April 15, 2011, stated that high concentrations of dust and burned waste present at Bagram Airfield for most of the war are likely to impact veterans’ health for the rest of their lives. “The long term health risk” from breathing in Bagram’s particulate-rich air include “reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases.” Service members may not necessarily “acquire adverse long term pulmonary or heart conditions,” but “the risk for such is increased.”

The cause of the health hazards are given the anodyne names Particulate Matter 10 and Particulate Matter 2.5, a reference to the size in micrometers of the particles’ diameter. Service personnel deployed to Bagram know them by more colloquial names: dust, trash and even feces — all of which are incinerated in “a burn pit” on the base, the memo says, as has been standard practice in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade.

Accordingly, the health risks were not limited to troops serving at Bagram in 2011, the memo states. The health hazards are an assessment of “air samples taken over approximately the last eight years” at the base.

Please see the original and read the entire article here

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Friendly Fire, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Declares Kabul “White” City, Highest Security Status effective immediatley

May 3, 2012

The UN have declared Kabul a “White City” Highest Security Status effective immediately.

This means all movement for UN staff have been immediately suspended within Kabul and more than likely all of Afghanistan.

The UN Claims that there has also been an increase in security threats specifically along the Jalalabad Road corridor, the most likely targets will be the military installations, international military, Afghan military and Police, government buildings, UN complex, and the Green Village as the obvious targets.

There has been no known specific threats at this time and Coalition Embassies and Forces are not registering additional known threats. Due to the significant events past and present and future with the Chicago Conference their exist the potential to build up for a spectacular event within Kabul City Area

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Afghan Crash, 2 Girls Killed on Ground

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two girls on the ground, Turkish and Afghan officials said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the helicopter was one of two that took off on Friday.

“Unfortunately, the one in front came down for an unknown reason,” he said.

He said there were officers and noncommissioned officers on board.

VOA March 16, 2011

Turkey’s military says one of its helicopters has crashed into a house on the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul, killing 12 Turkish soldiers.

Authorities say the Sikorsky helicopter crashed into the house Friday in the Bagrami district.

The Turkish military said the aircraft belonged to the Turkish armed forces and was part of the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

In eastern Afghanistan, NATO says one of its service members died Thursday in a bomb blast.

Please see the original and read more here

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ISAF, NATO, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 American Officers Killed In Afghan Ministry

Lieutenant Colonel John Darin Loftis of the 866th Air Expeditionary Squad

Maj. Robert Marchanti 29th Infantry Division Security Partnering Team of the Maryland Army National Guard

KABUL (CNN)  February 24, 2012

-The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack Saturday inside the Afghan interior ministry that killed at least two American officers.

NATO and Afghan officials reported the deaths of two American officers inside the ministry in Kabul.

According to the International Security Assistance Force, initial reports indicated that “an individual” turned his weapon against NATO service members.

The agency did not provide the nationalities of the victims, but an Afghan police official confirmed they were American

February 25, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

British Private Security Contractors arrested carrying AK-47s in Kabul

AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) Detained members of Garda World private security company are seen near their confiscated arms during a news event in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. Two British nationals along with their Afghan colleagues from Garda World private security company

Update by Washington Post:  Statement by GardaWorld

The firm said Thursday that it was cooperating with the Afghan investigation. A statement indicated it did not own the AK-47s but was in the process of buying them through legal channels.

“The weapons in question were being taken to be tested at a firing range before being purchased and properly licensed by GardaWorld,” the company said. “We fully comply with all laws and regulations in our Afghanistan operations and are making every effort to work closely with the Afghan authorities to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”


Update New York Times

Both Britons work for a private company that provides security for foreign installations in Kabul, according to an official from Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Telegraph  January 4, 2012

Two British private security contractors have been arrested in Afghanistan after they were stopped by police with 30 AK-47 assault rifles in their vehicle.

The men were buying weapons from two Afghan arms dealers who were arrested at the same time, a private security source close to the situation told the Daily Telegraph.

The four men were transporting the weapons to a range to test fire them before the deal was finalised, the source said.

Mohammed Zahair, of the Kabul police, said the men were stopped as they drove from the airport towards the Jalalabad road.

“They were caught on the road at a check point,” he added. “They are in custody and our investigations are continuing.”

Ayoub Salangi, the chief of police in Kabul, said some of the weapons did not have serial numbers or the numbers had been removed.

“We asked the company to show their licence but they are yet to do so,” he added.

It is understood the firm claims that paperwork was filed with the Ministry of the Interior notifying them of the deal.

“The British Embassy is in contact with the Afghan authorities and stands ready to provide consular assistance,” the spokesman added.

Please read the entire article

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Contractors Arrested, Contractors Held, G4S, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Britons detained in Afghanistan: official

Update from the Telegraph

The men were buying weapons from two Afghan arms dealers who were arrested at the same time, a private security source close to the situation told the Daily Telegraph.

The four men were transporting the weapons to a range to test fire them before the deal was finalised, the source said.

Mohammed Zahair, of the Kabul police, said the men were stopped as they drove from the airport towards the Jalalabad road.

“They were caught on the road at a check point,” he added. “They are in custody and our investigations are continuing.”

http://civiliancontractors.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/british-private-security-contractors-arrested-carrying-ak-47s-in-kabul/

AFP via Yahoo News  January 3, 2012

Two British nationals have been detained in the Afghan capital in possession of dozens of AK-47 assault rifles with the serial numbers erased, a government official said Tuesday.

“Two British nationals along with their two Afghan colleagues, a driver and a interpreter, were today detained carrying 30 AKs. The weapons’ registration numbers were removed from them,” the official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, told AFP.

Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi confirmed that four people had been detained while carrying weapons. He would not disclose their nationality and said the case was under investigation.

The government official who spoke to AFP said the Britons were arrested in an area of Kabul where foreign forces have bases and facilities.

The British embassy said it was “aware of reports that British nationals may have been detained in Kabul”.

“Our consular officials in Kabul are in touch with the relevant Afghan police authorities to seek further information,” a spokesman told AFP.

Afghanistan is home to thousands of foreign private security personnel providing services for foreign troops, diplomatic missions and aid organisations.

A US congressional report last year found that the number of private security personnel working for the US military in Afghanistan rose to 18,919 at the end of 2010, the highest level used in any conflict by the United States.

Around 95 percent of them were Afghans, it added.

But relations with the authorities have deteriorated. President Hamid Karzai accuses the firms of breaking the law and taking business away from Afghans.

Perceptions that those working for security firms are little more than gun-toting mercenaries, roaming the countryside with impunity, have made them deeply unpopular among Afghans

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Held, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two British Civilian Contractors killed worked for Fluor

Scotsman October 31, 2011

The British contractors were named locally as Stephen Brown, 52, and David Quinn, 34Both men were electricians, employed by the Texas-based engineering company Fluor. Their bodies were due to be repatriated last night. “The company has notified the families involved,” said Fluor spokesman Keith Stephens. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones of our co-workers. Right now our focus is helping them.”

The British contractors were working for the Texas-based construction and engineering firm Fluor, which has extensive contracts with Nato forces in Afghanistan, including managing essential facilities on army bases all over the country.

Fluor Corp., a company based in Irving, Texas, that employs contractors in Afghanistan, confirmed on Sunday that some of its employees, including the two British nationals, were killed in the attack. Their names were not being released out of respect for their families, said Keith Stephens, a company representative.

British contractors among victims of Kabul convoy attack  October 30, 2011

Two British civilians were among 17 people killed in a Taliban car bomb attack on a military convoy in Kabul on Saturday.

The two electricians, who have not been named, were travelling in a heavily armoured Rhino bus in the western outskirts of the Afghan capital when the vehicle was rammed by a Toyota Corolla believed to have been carrying 700kg of explosives.

Four US soldiers, five US civilians, a Canadian soldier, a Kosovan civilian were killed as well. Four Afghan civilians near the scene also died in the blast, which smashed windows in buildings up to half a kilometre away.

The British contractors were working for the Texas-based construction and engineering firm Fluor, which has extensive contracts with Nato forces in Afghanistan, including managing essential facilities on army bases all over the country.

One of the bodies has already been flown out of Afghanistan, a western official said, while the second was due to be flown out on Sunday after a ceremony at Bagram air field, to the north of Kabul, which was due to be attended by senior military officers and diplomats.

It is not known which project the men had been working on, but it is thought that the bus – which was being escorted by other armoured vehicles – had just left the counter-insurgency school run by Nato at Camp Julien in the west of the city and was heading for Camp Phoenix, a US base involved in training Afghan soldiers and policemen.

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Fluor | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 British civilians among those killed in suicide bombing of NATO convoy in Kabul

By Associated Press at Washington Post, Updated: Sunday, October 30, 9:41 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan — Britain’s Foreign Office says two British civilians working for a building contractor were among the victims of a weekend suicide bombing of a NATO convoy in Kabul that killed 17.

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into an armored NATO bus on a busy thoroughfare in Kabul on Saturday, killing five NATO service members, including one Canadian soldier, eight civilian contractors and four Afghans.

Earlier it was reported that the five soldiers and eight contractors killed were all American.

The British ministry said Sunday that the families of the two civilians have been informed.

Please read more here

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eight American Civilian Contractors killed in Suicide Car Blast Afghanistan

 

 

 

Fluor Corp., a company based in Irving, Texas, that employs contractors in Afghanistan, confirmed on Sunday that some of its employees, including the two British nationals, were killed in the attack. Their names were not being released out of respect for their families, said Keith Stephens, a company representative.

12 Americans Die as Blast Hits Bus in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 12 Americans were killed when a Taliban suicide car bomber attacked an armored shuttle bus in Kabul on Saturday, military officials said.

The bombing was the single deadliest assault on Americans in the capital since the war began, military officials said, and follows brazen Taliban attacks on the American Embassy and NATO headquarters in the city last month.

A Western defense official said at least four of the dead Americans were G.I.’s and the rest were contract workers; a Canadian soldier and four Afghans were also reported to be killed.

The attack Saturday and the other high-profile assaults are seen as a shift in Taliban strategy as the militants struggle against a surge in American troops that has loosened their grip on the Taliban heartland in the south and compromised their ability to stage more conventional attacks on NATO forces.

American officials see the latest assaults as the Taliban’s attempt to shake confidence in the Afghan government, which has been taking over security from NATO in Kabul and other areas of the country

Read more here

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

13 Americans killed in Afghanistan suicide bombing

USA Today October 29, 2011  11am

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a van into an armored NATO bus Saturday in Kabul, killing 13 American troops and four Afghans, U.S. and Afghan officials said, in the deadliest attack on coalition forces in more than two months

The explosion, which occurred as the convoy was passing the American University, sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site.

The armored personnel carrier, known as a Rhino, was sandwiched between of a convoy of mine-resistant military vehicles traveling on a four-lane highway frequently used by NATO forces in a southwestern section of the city.

NATO said 13 service members were killed, but a U.S. official confirmed they were all Americans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior said three Afghan civilians and one policeman also died in the attack. Eight other Afghans, including two children and four other civilians, were wounded, said Kabir Amiri, head of Kabul hospitals.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, as well as for another suicide bombing outside a government intelligence office in the northwest province of Kunar.

The attack occurred near the entrance of the American University and the nearby landmark Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings

Please read more at USA Today

October 29, 2011 Posted by | NATO, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jay Henigan, CIA Contractor, Killed in Kabul Shootout

Family, US official say Illinois man was contractor killed in attack at CIA facility in Kabul

CHICAGO —September 28  A U.S. official and an Illinois family have identified the CIA contractor killed during a shooting at an agency facility in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The father of 61-year-old Jay Henigan says his son was killed in the attack Sunday. Henigan was a lifelong resident of Sycamore, Ill., about 50 miles west of Chicago.

Tom Henigan says his son had just begun his second stint working as a plumber for the CIA in Kabul.

A U.S. official says Jay Henigan was shot by an Afghan worker who was providing security to the facility. The official requested anonymity because he was speaking about intelligence matters.

Tom Henigan says his son went back to Afghanistan “because he just wanted to help out.”

Please read more here

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Government Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan attacked; Taliban claims responsibility

CNN September 13, 2011

[Update 8:29 a.m. ET

The U.S. Embassy issued an emergency message about the series of attacks across Kabul on Tuesday, saying “the situation is uncertain and ongoing. There are media reports that many roads are closed in Kabul.” It said appointments for visas or U.S. citizen services have been canceled for now and it said Americans in Afghanistan should monitor the websites of the embassy and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for the latest information.

“We urge U.S. citizens to shelter in place, avoid unnecessary movement, and to avoid the neighborhood around the U.S. Embassy: Wazir Akbar Khan, Microrayon, and Massoud Circle,” it said.

“The Embassy also urges U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and avoid areas where Westerners congregate. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers, or in public. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, and always travel with mobile phones or appropriate communication equipment.”

Please see the original here

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, State Department, Taliban | , , , , | Leave a comment

SAS men wounded in Kabul raid

NZ Herald  June 30, 2011

Two New Zealand SAS soldiers were wounded yesterday as they battled a deadly Taleban suicide raid in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister John Key said last night the men played a “crucial” role in thwarting the terrorist attack that left at least 10 civilians dead at the Inter-Continental hotel in Kabul.

At least six suicide bombers stormed the five-storey building about 9pm local time (5am NZ time).

Once inside, they went from room to room, attacking the residents, before taking over the roof of the building.

At least 10 Afghan civilians were killed in the battle, which ended when a Nato helicopter attacked the militants on the roof, killing them all.

Mr Key said a “handful” of New Zealand’s SAS troops – fewer than a dozen, he thought – went to the raid with the Afghani Crisis Response Unit in a mentoring role to observe.

SAS forces are in Kabul to train local forces with a view to handing back security responsibilities soon.

“The incident obviously escalated,” the Prime Minister said.

Please read the entire story here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan’s Intercontinental Hotel Under Attack by Suicide Bombers

Fox News June 28, 2011  Will update as information becomes available

The popular Intercontinental hotel in Kabul has come under a suicide bombing attack Tuesday, a U.S. official told Fox News. The attack is still ongoing.

Afghanistan news agency TOLOnews is reporting at least 10 people have been killed. That number has yet to be independently confirmed.

Up to six suicide bombers are believed to have attacked the hotel, Afghan police tell Fox News. Multiple explosions have been heard at the hotel.

Afghan police were battling the assailants with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades as tracer rounds went up over the blacked out building.

Afghan National Police have secured the area around the hotel. Kabul’s police chief says at least three of the suicide bombers blew themselves up.

Streets leading to the Intercontinental hotel are blocked.

“It’s an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel. There are several gunmen shooting,” Kabul criminal investigations chief Mohammad Zahir told AFP.

He said “a number” of police had been wounded.

Azizullah, an Afghan police officer who uses only one name, told The Associated Press at the scene that at least one bomber entered the hotel Tuesday night and detonated a vest of explosives.

Jawid, a guest at the hotel, says the attack occurred as many people were having dinner in the hotel restaurant. He says he heard gunfire throughout the several story building.

Please read the entire story here

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kabul Brothels Continue to Service NATO

  Mathew  Nasuti at Kabul Press.org Monday June 20, 2011 

The unofficial message from the West to victims of oppression is:

“We will liberate you as long as your women agree to service our officials and contractors.”

That is a sad reality of both NATO and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons Report 2010″ highlights the continuing growth of brothels in Kabul following the U.S. invasion in 2001. Many of the victims are poor Afghan women. A press release issued on January 13, 2011, by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul blamed the scandal on lax enforcement against traffickers by the Afghan Government, with no recommendation that the “johns” or clients be prosecuted (because many of them appear to be NATO and U.N. officials and their contractors). The most that the U.S. Embassy would meekly say is that:

“Some international security contractors may be involved in the sex trafficking of these women.”(it is interesting how ineffective U.S. intelligence agencies seem to be at determining brothel ownership in Kabul, despite the importance of the issue due to the use of these facilities by NATO officials)

This issue is not new. The British newspaper “The Sun” ran a story on April 7, 2008 entitled:

“NATO Men Romp in Afghan Brothels”

Sun Defense Editor Tom Newton Dunn detailed how NATO troops were observed drinking contraband alcohol and heading off to rooms with prostitutes. It quoted a NATO official as stating that one out of every five NATO civilians in Afghanistan frequent these brothels. The report quoted Afghan Member of Parliament Shukria Barakzai as stating that if this conduct continues: “They will undermine their reason for being here.”

Please read the entire post at Kabul Press

June 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Contractor Oversight, NATO, Private Security Contractor, United Nations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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