Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Another American killed by man in Afghan army uniform, Andrew Brittonmilaho Green Beret

This morning, officials at the Pentagon announced the death of Green Beret Staff Sergeant Andrew T. Brittonmihalo, 25, who was killed April 25, 2012, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Known in his hometown area of Simi Valley, California, as Andrew Mihalo, online reports also list his name as Andrew Britton. Brittonmihalo is the official name used by the Department of Defense in its release this morning.

SSG Brittonmilaho was based out of Eglin Air Force base in Florida.

He was killed by small arms fire from enemy forces in Kandahar.

While there are no official accounts of his death from the military, family reports that he was killed by a man in an Afghan Army uniform. There are reports that his interpreter was also killed in the same incident. The incident remains under investigation by the military.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group and was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan, at the time of his death. This is the third U.S. Special Forces death released this week.

About two hours after the two U.S. soldiers were wounded, a separate clash occurred in which an Afghan soldier opened fire with a machine gun on a group of U.S. and Afghan special operations soldiers returning to their base after conducting an operation, U.S. officials said.

The gunfire killed one American soldier, wounded three other Americans and killed another person whose nationality was unclear. One official said the person was an Afghan interpreter. Another official said an internal report referred to him as a U.S. civilian.

Andrew Britton, Green Beret killed in Afghanistan

A Green Beret from Simi Valley, Andrew Britton, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.

Craig Mathias, who with his wife, Danette, cared for him during his senior year at Royal High School, confirmed the news Thursday. The Department of Defense has so far not released any information or confirmed Britton’s death.

Britton — known as Andrew Mihalo when he lived in Simi Valley — was 25.

He was raised in Simi Valley and stayed on to complete high school there after his mother and stepfather moved out of state.

His mother now resides in North Carolina, while his sister, Michelle Caranza, lives in Simi Valley.

Although no official details about the circumstances surrounding Britton’s death have been released, the Mathiases say the family has been told there was an incident or ambush involving someone in Afghan Army uniform.

Mercury News AP  April 26, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — A man wearing an Afghan army uniform fatally shot an American service member in southern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday, the latest in a string of attacks against U.S. and other foreign forces by their Afghan partners or insurgents in disguise.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 16 such attacks against American and other international troops. The U.S.-led coalition is trying to mentor and strengthen Afghan security forces so they can lead the fight against the Taliban and foreign troops can go home by the end of 2014. That mission, however, requires a measure of trust that has been repeatedly undermined by the deaths of coalition troops at the hands of their Afghan partners.

In one of the highest-profile attacks, a man working as a driver at the Afghan Interior Ministry shot dead two U.S. military advisers at close range in March. That incident alone led the U.S. military to temporarily pull all its advisers out of Afghan ministries.

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April 26, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan | , , , | 1 Comment

Charles Taylor Guilty of Sierra Leone War Crimes

Bloomberg  April 26, 2012

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was found guilty by an international tribunal for supporting fighters to commit atrocities during an 11-year civil war in neigboring Sierra Leone.

Sentencing will take place on May 30, Justice Richard Lussick said after a more than two hour-long reading of the court’s verdict in The Hague.

Taylor, 64, is the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court for war crimes since World War Two. He was charged with 11 counts, including terrorizing civilians, murder, rape and kidnapping children to use as soldiers, according to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which was set up by the west African nation and the United Nations in 2002.

The verdict is a “stark warning to other heads of state who are committing similar crimes, or contemplating doing so,”Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an e-mailed statement from Geneva. “This is undoubtedly a historic moment in the development of international justice.”

Taylor’s trial has been held at the International Criminal Court in The Hague since 2007 because of security reasons

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April 26, 2012 Posted by | Africa | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Africans in Afghanistan: When War Zones Become Lands of Opportunity

Thousands of skilled workers from Africa are willingly facing danger in remote areas of Afghanistan for high-paying jobs supporting coalition troops.

Think Africa Press  April 26, 2012

Beyond the primal beauty of the Southern Afghanistan desert lies the unknown for newcomers, military and civilians alike. Sand and rocks spread further across that vast sea of sparsely inhabited nothingness than the eye can see. For the troops stationed in the Helmand province, the unknown coupled with the deserted surroundings speak danger.

This infamous province – a Taliban stronghold and site of frequent fighting between insurgents and NATO troops during the now 10-year-old Afghan War – has been welcoming a new breed of visitors: former soldiers turned personnel security providers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, engineers, cashiers, information technology experts, mine specialists, or finance and administration officers. Many are Africans, who constitute the bulk of migrant workers in the area, along with civilian personnel from Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Croatia, Bosnia), and Asia (India, Philippines).

Outsourced wars, outsourced workers

The increased military presence of the US, EU and other countries involved in the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force after 2009 resulted in a major shift in roles. As the overextended military focused on taming a local insurgency, tasks that were once the exclusive domain of trained military personnel started to be offered to civilian skilled workers. Civilians contractors came to provide the workforces necessary to maintain and run dining facilities, Morale Welfare and Recreation centres, military berthing, and equipment repair and replenishment shops.

Ethiopian Henok Tessema, 33, now lodging in the civilian section of a Helmand Province military installation, made his way to Afghanistan following a routine online job search. Tessema had been juggling four part-time positions working as a financial administrator and accountant in Harar, and saw the vacancy at the Central Asia Development Group as an opportunity to consolidate four part-time positions into a single one.

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April 26, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Civilian Contractors, Human Trafficking, ISAF, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Finds Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka

Boston Globe AP  April 26, 2012

NEW DELHI—A report from a U.N. mine removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that the weapons were used in that country’s long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war that ended in May 2009. The government has repeatedly denied reports it used cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small “bomblets” that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.

They are banned under an international treaty adopted by more than 60 nations that took effect in August 2010, after the Sri Lankan war. The nations that haven’t adopted the treaty include Sri Lanka, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the U.S., which says the bombs are a valid weapon of war when used properly.

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.

The email was written by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program’s mine action group in Sri Lanka.

“After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka,” the email said.

During the final weeks of the war, tens of thousands of civilians and Tamil Tiger rebel fighters were trapped in a tiny section of Puthukudiyiruppu as attacking government forces closed in on them.

Lakshman Hulugalla, a Sri Lankan government spokesman on security matters, said the military had not used cluster munitions in the war.

“We are denying that information,” he said.

The U.N. did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment

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April 26, 2012 Posted by | Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations, UXO | , , , , , , | Leave a comment