Permission was obtained from their families.
Christian Johannes Justus PRETORIUS, aged 30, Pretoria, Gauteng
Fraser Angus CAREY, aged 31, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Brandon Quinn BOOTH, aged 47 , Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal
Johan Abraham VAN HUYSSTEEN, aged 31, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Johan Frederick BOUCHAUD, aged 30, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Johannes Judenis HUMPHRIES, aged 65, Centurion, Gauteng
Steven LEONG, aged 31, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Jenny Margaret AYRIS,aged 46, Scotland, United Kingdom
We remember them, we mourn their passing and we will never forget them. Rest in Peace. SHOUT
Two separate suicide attacks in Afghanistan – both aimed at foreign workers or military forces, left at least 14 civilians dead and three U.S. troops wounded on Tuesday, according to Afghan officials.
The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan, ISAF, confirmed only that a suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest attacked in the Kunar province’s Watahpur district, wounding three foreign troops.
A senior Afghan security official tells CBS News that the bomber walked into a group of American soldiers and local residents who had gathered for a ceremony launching work on a new bridge. He said the ISAF troops wounded were Americans, and an Afghan civilian was also killed in the blast.
Earlier Tuesday, a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital, killing at least 13 people in an attack that a militant group said was revenge for an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.
A senior Kabul police official tells CBS News the dead include eight South Africans, four Afghan nationals and one person from Kyrgyzstan. Many of the victims were employees of an aviation company, including pilots. Two sources have told CBS News separately that the victims of the attack worked for a company contracted to fly U.S. State Department staff within Afghanistan, Aviation Charter Solutions (ACS),
Information about the slain interpreter was not available.
WASHINGTON — A U.S. government aid worker killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan was a former master planner for Prince George’s County.
Forty-three-year-old Ragaei Abdelfattah was killed Wednesday in the eastern Kunar province along with three coalition service members and an Afghan civilian.
The Washington Post (http://tinyurl.com/8ow2c7k ) reports that Abdelfattah was a native of Egypt and a naturalized American citizen who came to love the United States. He was married and had two teenage sons from a previous marriage.
In addition to his work for Prince George’s County, Abdelfattah spent five years with the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.
His wife, Angela Ruppe, says Abdelfattah was fulfilled by the development work he was doing in Afghanistan.
Huffington Post August 10, 2012
A suicide bomber in eastern Afghanistan killed three troops, a U.S. aid worker and an Afghan interpreter on Wednesday, CNN reported.
According to the Department of Defense, the attack occurred when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest in Sarkowi, Kunar Province.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffith, 45, the senior enlisted soldier of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., died in the explosion. Also killed were Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y., Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga., and USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah.
Several troops were also injured in the attack, but details were not released.
A 24-year Army veteran, Griffith had been deployed to Afghanistan in March after serving three tours in Iraq. He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
Kennedy joined the Army in 2000 and also received the Bronze Star. At the time of his death, he was serving on his third deployment, including two tours in Iraq.
Gray was an Air Liaison Officer and flight commander attached to Fort Carson through the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. Although commissioned as an officer in 1997, he was previously an enlisted Airman and one of the Air Force’s first career Air Liaison Officers.
Abdelfattah recently began his second voluntary tour in Afghanistan to continue supporting the country’s stability and long-term development.
“With the work of people such as Ragaei, the civilian surge we launched in Afghanistan in 2009 has made a tremendous impact, strengthening the capacity of the Afghan Government and laying a foundation for long-term sustainable development. Though we are shocked and saddened by this loss and will miss Ragaei, our efforts will continue,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Information about the slain interpreter was not available.
Associated Press at Sacbee August 9, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says a U.S. government aid worker was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned Wednesday’s attack by two men wearing suicide vests in the eastern Kunar province.
Clinton’s statement said USAID foreign service officer Ragaei Abdelfattah, three coalition service members and an Afghan civilian were killed. A State Department diplomat was injured.
The Turkish Weekly Tuesday, 7 August 2012
From its sprawling, $750 million embassy in Baghdad – the largest, most expensive American diplomatic mission in the world – Washington had hoped for a cozy relationship with the Iraqi government, forged after a U.S.-led military coalition ousted former president Saddam Hussein.
But in the seven months since the United States withdrew its combat forces from Iraq, U.S. relations with Baghdad have deteriorated as Iraqi insurgents have carried out a major attack at least once a month.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the ongoing violence that included coordinated bombings and gunbattles on July 23 unleashed by Iraq’s al-Qaida affiliate.
As American influence in Iraq has ebbed to its lowest point in years, and with Iraq in political turmoil, the Obama administration recently announced large reductions to the size and scope of its mission in a country less willing to accept a significant American footprint.
These include plans to slash the huge diplomatic presence it had envisioned for Iraq by one-third, drastically pare down a highly-touted but deeply unpopular police training program and close its consulate in Kirkuk.
Clements Worldwide, leading provider of international insurance solutions, reports the U.S. State Department’s pre-negotiated agreement with insurer CNA for the provision of Defense Base Act (DBA) coverage has been suspended. As a result, all DBA policies with renewal dates of July 22, 2012 or later must be placed on an open market basis. Consequently, contractors may be subject to:
• Higher rates: o Minimum premiums now apply, which could be significantly more expensive for
contractors with operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
• More complex procurement: o Brokers must now present risk in order to obtain quotes.
o Insurers will now require claims experience information in order to rate individual
• Varying limits: o Although basic coverage will remain the same, certain extensions (such as evacuation)
may have varying limits depending on the insurer.
“Failure to obtain DBA insurance for all covered employees not only subjects an organization to the risk of potential lawsuits by its employees, it also exposes the company and its officers individually to possible Labor Department fines and criminal actions,” says Smita Malik, assistant vice president at Clements. “DBA cover is therefore not only an important requirement of any robust compliance program, but also an important step in mitigating potential liability arising from covered employee activities.”
Malik urges all U .S. government contractors and subcontractors to promptly consult with an authorized DBA insurance expert to ensure proper compliance with the State Department’s new requirements.
Posted : Friday Jun 29, 2012 13:05:27 EDT
Volatile security conditions have forced the State Department to continue to employ a large number of contractors to protect personnel in Iraq after the shift from a military to civilian-led mission, several senior federal officials told a House committee Thursday.
“It is accurate our personnel have security concerns,” said Mara Rudman, U.S Agency for International Development assistant administrator for the bureau for the Middle East. Rudman spoke at a hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s national security subcommittee. “The security environment in Iraq is improving but is still not a normal security environment.”
The last American troops left Iraq in December, but the U.S. maintains a large presence in the country.
There are 16,000 personnel in Iraq employed by the State Department and other agencies, said Patrick F. Kennedy, undersecretary for management in the State Department. About 14,000 are contractors from the U.S. or other countries who take part in daily missions such as security for personnel and air transport of supplies and people in need of medical care.
About 6,500 of those 14,000 contractors are responsible for the security of American personnel in Iraq, Kennedy said. The high number is needed because of the still-volatile security situation in Iraq.
Washington Post with Bloomberg May 21, 2012
American contractors risk losing business under a U.S. plan to double the share of international aid awards given to overseas entrepreneurs and governments.
The U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $2.12 billion, or 15 percent, of its foreign assistance budget to the overseas groups last fiscal year, compared with $1.94 billion, or 12 percent, in fiscal 2010. The agency has set a goal of spending 30 percent of that aid on such entities by 2015.
The shift may reduce awards to U.S.-based contractors, which received 59 percent of USAID’s $14.5 billion in foreign assistance spending in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The remaining 26 percent went to other institutions, including universities and vocational schools.
Rajiv Shah, the agency’s administrator, says boosting direct investment in developing countries will save money and strengthen foreign institutions. “We became far too reliant on contractors,’’ he said in a March 7 speech.
The agency wants to work with local entrepreneurs and developing countries’ governments “instead of costlier Western consultants and contractors,’’ Shah said.
David Isenberg Huffington Post April 30, 2012
Today the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has released its latest quarterly report. Here is what happening with private contractors in Iraq.
As of April 3, 2012, the Department of State (DoS) reported that 12,755 personnel supported the U.S. Mission in Iraq, down about 8 percent from the previous quarter. Current staffing comprises 1,369 civilian government employees and 11,386 (U.S., local national, and third country national) contractors. (89 percent of the total).
Of these contractors, DoS estimated that about 2,950 provided security-related services for DoS sites, down more than 22 percent from last quarter (3,800).
In February, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides said that DoS will continue to reduce the number of contractors over the coming months in an attempt to “right size” Embassy operations.
The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) manages U.S. security assistance to the Government of Iraq. OSC-I is staffed by 145 U.S. military personnel, nine Department of Defense (DoD) civilians, and 4,912 contractors.
But according to SIGIR, DoS tends to undercount the number of contractors working in Iraq. It found that:
In early April, DoS asserted that only 6 U.S. government employees and 48 contractors work on what it considers reconstruction programs. This total does not include any of the several hundred personnel working under the auspices of the PDP, [Police Development Program] which remains the single-most expensive ongoing initiative financed by DoS for the benefit of Iraq. Nor does it include any of the hundreds of employees and contractors supporting the missions of OSC-I and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), though both agencies oversee projects paid for with U.S. reconstruction funds.
According to the Defense Department, if you include the OSC-I contractors, the total for private security contractors rises to 3,577.
The takeaway is that after all these years the U.S. government still has problems tracking the number of contractors working in Iraq. The SIGIR report found that:
While SPOT [Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker database, administered by DoD] data provides SIGIR with a comprehensive view of contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq, significant apparent differences exist between agency-reported contractor numbers and SPOT data. For example, DoS reported to SIGIR that there were almost 11,400 contractors supporting Mission Iraq as of April 3, 2012, while SPOT data shows 5,172 working for DoS.276 In addition, USAID reported that 1,854 contractors are currently working on USAID projects in Iraq.277 However, SPOT data shows only 110 USAID contractor and grantee personnel in Iraq as of April 1, 2012. SIGIR intends to investigate these discrepancies and provide an update in the July 2012 Quarterly Report.
With regard to security contractors the Government of Iraq (GOI) announced in February that 124 private security firms were registered to work for foreign government entities and private firms engaged in activities in Iraq, but the GOI has taken steps to minimize the presence and scope of these firms. According to the GOI, the Security and Defense Committee of the Council of Representatives has drafted legislation to reduce the number of PSC firms working in Iraq from 124 to 63. Of the remaining firms, 15 to 20 would be foreign firms and the rest would be Iraqi.
On the fraud front, some of SIGIR’s noteworthy investigations were:
Three former officers of a U.S. defense contractor, the wife of one of the officers, and four foreign nationals were indicted for their alleged roles in a fraud and moneylaundering scheme involving contracts for reconstruction projects in Iraq. The defendants were also are charged with an aggregate of 74 wire-fraud offenses.A British citizen and his company were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay kickbacks in exchange for receiving more than $23 million in DoD subcontracts from April 2006 to August 2008. The British contractor allegedly paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks to two employees of a prime contractor to the U.S. government in order to obtain these subcontracts for work performed in support of the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program (CMCP).
David Welch, a former U.S. civilian contract employee, pled guilty to conspiring to steal 38 U.S. military generators and sell them on the Iraqi black market.
As of April 10, SIGIR is continuing to work on 110 open investigations.
There are a number of PSC firms working on the Police Development Program; especially in providing security at the Baghdad Police College Annex (BPAX). At BPAX, Triple Canopy, Inc., contractors provide protective details and escort PDP convoys. Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC, provides perimeter security, with Iraqi Security Forces guarding the outer perimeter. EOD Technology, Inc., operates the counter-mortar and counterrocket system, and three U.S. military personnel are attached to the RSO explosive ordnance disposal unit. Another U.S. contractor provides a computer technician who manages the classified email system used by PDP personnel.
Associated Press March 18, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government is giving companies extensions ranging from a few weeks to 90 days to change from private security guards to a government-run force, officials said Sunday.
The reprieve comes just three days before the March 21 deadline that the Afghan government had set for the majority of companies to start using government-provided security.
Private development companies have said the move is threatening billions in U.S. aid to the country because companies would delay projects or leave altogether because they didn’t feel safe using strictly local security over whose training and procedures they have little control.
President Hamid Karzai has railed for years against the large number of guns-for-hire in Afghanistan, saying private security companies skirt the law and risk becoming militias.
It’s been part of Karzai’s larger push for more control over the way his international allies operate in Afghanistan, as seen most recently in his call for NATO troops to pull back from village outposts and to hand over security responsibilities to Afghans more quickly.
Karzai said in 2009 that he wanted private security firms abolished and eventually set the March deadline for all companies except military or diplomatic facilities to use government guards. The ban would effectively end the wide-scale presence of foreigners acting as security contractors, an industry that boomed after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York Times March 11, 2012
WASHINGTON — The management at a company that does aid and development work for the American government knows that some of its employees in Afghanistan are keeping weapons in their rooms — and is choosing to look the other way. At another company in the same business, lawyers are examining whether the company can sue the United States Agency for International Development for material breach of contract, citing the deteriorating security in Afghanistan
An Afghan government plan to abolish private security companies at the end of this month, along with the outbreak of anti-American demonstrations and attacks in the past month, has left the private groups that carry out most of the American-financed development work in Afghanistan scrambling to sort out their operations, imperiling billions of dollars in projects, officials say.
That, in turn, threatens a vital part of the Obama administration’s plans for Afghanistan, which envision a continuing development mission after the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014.
The main U.S. foreign aid agency is preparing to switch from private security contractors in Afghanistan to Afghan government-provided security this month under a new policy mandated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, raising concern in Washington that this could put U.S. civilians at greater risk.
U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah says the agency may be able to negotiate waivers from the policy for some major infrastructure projects so that they could continue to have access to private security.
But U.S. AID officials also said this week that only 25 percent of U.S.-funded development projects in Afghanistan require security guards, suggesting the changeover to Afghan government-provided security this month that Karzai has ordered may not be so dramatic.
“Seventy-five percent of our assistance portfolio does not require private security contractors today. So a lot of our partners, and a lot of the way we are doing business is not affected by this at all,” Alex Thier, Shah’s assistant for Afghanistan and Pakistan programs, said in an interview.
Private security contractors working for foreign companies, who have numbered in the thousands, are no longer allowed on aid and development programs after March 20 under Karzai’s decree. If these programs want armed escorts or guards for their compounds, they are supposed to contract with a branch of the Afghan police, the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF).
Karzai has long been critical of private contractors and other “parallel institutions” in Afghanistan and wants them under the control of the Afghan government.
Yet it’s far from clear that the Afghan Public Protection force can provide the same level of security.
Defpro News March 8, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan | The Afghan Public Protection Force signed its first contracts for security service today with three companies, marking an important milestone in the ongoing transition from Private Security Companies to the APPF.
The Minister of Interior, Bismullah Khan Mohammedi, presided over the ceremony and thanked APPF leadership, the NATO International Security Assistance Force, and the U.S. Agency for International Development for their support in executing the transition to APPF-led security services.
“From this day on, the responsibility for security services will transition from private security companies to the APPF, one after the other,” said Minister Mohammedi.
APPF Deputy Minister Jemal Abdul Naser Sidiqi signed three contracts with International Relief and Development (IRD), one with Louis Berger – Black and Veatch, and another with AFGS. IRD and Louis Berger – Black and Veatch are both USAID implementing partners performing development projects around Afghanistan.
“We welcome this security transition as a natural step for Afghanistan,” said Bill Haight, representing the Louis Berger – Black and Veatch joint venture.
In August 2010, President Hamid Karzai ordered private security companies to be disbanded, and the APPF was identified to take over security responsibility from these companies. The APPF is focusing now on taking over security responsibility for development projects, convoys and commercial businesses. By March 2013, all security for ISAF bases and construction sites is scheduled to transition to the APPF
Update: An Albanian soldier was killed, and three other troops were injured, including two Albanians and an American, according to the provincial government in Kandahar, where the shooting took place.
Winnipeg Free Press February 20, 2012
TIRANA, Albania – Suspected Afghan police opened fire on Albanian and other foreign troops in the war-wracked country’s south Monday, killing two Albanian soldiers and prompting the arrest of 11 Afghan policemen, authorities said.
The deaths were the first for Albanian troops in Afghanistan. Another international soldier was wounded.
The shootings appeared to be the latest in a growing number of attacks by Afghan police or army soldiers on foreign forces, a trend that has raised concerns about the vetting of Afghan recruits and threatened the international military commitment to the country. Last month, France suspended its training program and warned it may withdraw its forces a year ahead of schedule after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers.
Monday’s shooting occurred in the village of Robat, in the southern district of Spin Boldak near the Pakistani border, Kandahar police chief Abdul Raziq said. The troops were accompanying a USAID team for a meeting about opening two schools and a health cente, Albania’s defence ministry said.
AP IMPACT by Desmond Butler Associated Press February 12, 2012
Piece by piece, in backpacks and carry-on bags, American aid contractor Alan Gross made sure laptops, smartphones, hard drives and networking equipment were secreted into Cuba. The most sensitive item, according to official trip reports, was the last one: a specialized mobile phone chip that experts say is often used by the Pentagon and the CIA to make satellite signals virtually impossible to track.
The purpose, according to an Associated Press review of Gross’ reports, was to set up uncensored satellite Internet service for Cuba’s small Jewish community.
The operation was funded as democracy promotion for the U.S. Agency for International Development, established in 1961 to provide economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. Gross, however, identified himself as a member of a Jewish humanitarian group, not a representative of the U.S. government.
Cuban President Raul Castro called him a spy, and Gross was sentenced last March to 15 years in prison for seeking to “undermine the integrity and independence” of Cuba. U.S. officials say he did nothing wrong and was just carrying out the normal mission of USAID.
The prosecution could hardly have been better designed to provoke an American backlash. Although the charges against the 19 Americans are part of a broader crackdown on as many as nine nonprofit groups here, its most prominent targets are two American-financed groups with close ties to the Congressional leadership, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. Both are chartered to promote democracy abroad with nonpartisan training and election monitoring.
The New York TImes February 5, 2012
CAIRO — Egypt’s military-led government said Sunday that it would put 19 Americans and two dozen others on trial in a politically charged criminal investigation into the foreign financing of nonprofit groups that has shaken the 30-year alliance between the United States and Egypt.
The decision raises tensions between the two allies to a new peak at a decisive moment in Egypt’s political transition after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak a year ago. Angry protesters are battling security forces in the streets of the capital and other major cities. The economy is in urgent need of billions of dollars in foreign aid. And the military rulers are in the final stages of negotiations with the Islamists who dominate the new Parliament over the terms of a transfer of power that could set the country’s course for decades.