Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Afghan truckers a forgotten front in a war growing deadlier by the day

It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters

Reuters KHOSH GOMBAT, Afghanistan | Sun Jul 29, 2012

In the cabins of their “jingle” trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO’s war supplies, Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious.

From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban’s eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.

“We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors,” said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners.

It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters, with the rest skimmed by middlemen or even going into the hands of insurgents for “protection”.

Only this week, three of Habibullah’s trucks were attacked and burned by Taliban amid the rugged mountains of Nuristan, a virtual no-go zone for NATO soldiers after heavy past losses and now garrisoned by a handful of Afghan troops and police.

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July 29, 2012 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, NATO, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , ,

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