Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

14 killed in Afghanistan suicide attacks targeting foreigners includes Eight South Africans

CBS/AP KABUL, Afghanistan

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 wreck of tje minibus in which eight South African airport contractors were killed in the suicide blast. Photograph: Keystone USA-Zuma/Rex Features

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),

September 18, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Civilian Contractors, Police Trainers, killed in Green on Blue Herat Afghanistan Unknown Number Wounded

US identifies contractors killed in Afghanistan

The victims were Benjamin Monsivais, a former US Border Patrol and retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent; Joseph Perez, a retired US Customs and Border Protection port director; and retired British customs officer David Chamberlain, DHS said in a statement.

Dave Chamberlain was killed in western Afghanistan alongside two American colleagues by a gunman who turned his weapon against the US military coalition, sources have said.

Mr Chamberlain, who was in his 40s and from Westgate-on-Sea, was working for the Border Management Task Force, which trains and mentors former Afghan customs officers and border policemen, when he and his colleagues were killed on Sunday, a source said.

He said another American national had been taken to hospital with severe injuries and that an Afghan interpreter had also been injured during the shooting.

A British civilian contractor was one of three people shot dead on Sunday by a person wearing an Afghan national security force uniform.
An Afghan police officer shot and killed three American civilians on Sunday at the West Zone Police Training Center in Herat province, CNN reports.  Huff Post
Afghan in uniform kills three NATO contractors

(AFP)–1 hour ago

KABUL — Three foreign civilian contractors working for NATO as trainers were killed Sunday when a man in an Afghan security force uniform turned his weapon against them, NATO and Afghan officials said.

The shooter was killed in the incident in the west of the country, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, without giving further details or naming the nationalities of the victims.

An Afghan official who requested anonymity said he knew two Americans had been killed in the attack and they had been shot by an Afghan man in a police uniform in a military training centre near the Herat airport.

HERAT (Reuters) –  July 22, 2012

A gunman wearing an Afghan uniform turned his weapon against foreign trainers working for NATO in the western province of Herat on Sunday, killing three, in a grim 24 hours for the coalition which also saw five NATO soldiers killed.

The latest rogue shooting by an Afghan in a police or army uniform happened at a regional training center in the relatively peaceful western province near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, which is normally patrolled by Italian forces.

“An individual wearing an Afghan National Security Force uniform turned his weapon against ISAF contracted civilian employees in western Afghanistan today, killing three,” a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition said, adding that an unknown number of other people had been wounded.

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Department of Labor and Supreme Group, A Cover Up?

In the second quarter of 2010 The Department of Labor reports that the Supreme Group had 192 employee death claims filed

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/dbaallemployer6-30-10.htm

The Supreme Group shows no prior death claims filed dating back to September of 2001.

While no single insurer shows death claims filed amounting to this number for this time period

CNA shows 46 death claims filed

Zurich shows 105 death claims filed

And the DoL lists 103 death claims to an uninsured employer (there were previously none listed)

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dlhwc/dbaallcarrier6-30-10.htm

See Also Failure to Secure DBA Coverage, Failure to Report Claims

.

We filed FOIA’s on February 22, 2012 and again on March 8, 2012

Which included the following:

    1.    Any and all complaints, statements, or reports to U.S. Dept. of Labor (DoL) concerning the activities of Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors

    2.    Any and all letters, reports, e mail, memoranda or other record showing communications with people regarding the activities of and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Service, and their subcontractors

             3.        Any and all report(s) of investigation or other memoranda or record concerning results of investigation conducted by DoL or any person working for DoL concerning the activities of  and/or the filing of DBA claims by Supreme Group, Supreme Food Services, and their subcontractors

.

We understand that when filing FOIA requests they must be worded properly

But are we to believe that there were 192 Death Claims filed in one quarter by one company and that during this same quarter over 100 Death Claims were filed to an uninsured employer,

AND NO ONE HAD ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR?

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, War Hazards Act, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

At Least 59 Civilian Contractor Deaths in Second Quarter of 2012

WE ARE THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF THE WARS

According to the Department of Labor’s Defense Base Act Claim Summary Reports there were at least 59 Civilian Contractor Deaths filed on in the second quarter of 2012.

Keep in mind that these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.

Many foreign national and local national contractors and their families are never told that they are covered under the Defense Base Act and so not included in the count.

6 Contractor Deaths this quarter were in Iraq

42 Contractor Deaths  were in Afghanistan

1 Contractor Death  are Nation Pending

1 Contractor Death  in the United States

1 Contractor Death in the  United Arab Emirates

2 Contractor Deaths in Qatar

1 Contractor Death in Columbia

1 Contractor Death in Pakistan

1 Contractor Death in Liberia

1 Contractor Death in Mozambique

1 Contractor Death in Tajikistan

At least 2, 685  Defense Base Act Claims were filed during this quarter

At least 59 were death claims

At least 1074 were for injuries requiring longer than 4 days off work

At least  92 were for injuries requiring less than 4 days off work

At least 1460were for injuries requiring no time off of work

A total of 87, 505  Defense Base Act Claims have been filed since September 1, 2001

Contact dbacasualty@yahoo.com for questions regarding these numbers

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Kuwait, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractors Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash

On Saturday, a helicopter operated by U.S. military contractors crashed in the mountains of Zabul province, killing all four Tajik crew members. The contractors, Supreme Group, said the helicopter was carrying cargo used for its contracts to supply food and water to U.S. forces.

The helicopter was operated by a company called Central Asian Aviation Services, Supreme said.

Four Tajiks killed in helicopter crash in Afghanistan

Kabul – A helicopter used by a civilian company contracted to NATO crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing all four Tajik crew members, officials said Sunday.

The crash was due to a technical malfunction, said Mohammad Jan Rasolyar, the deputy governor of Zabul province, where the crash took place.

But the Taliban in an online statement claimed its fighters had shot down the helicopter.

The Russian-made EY-106 helicopter belonged to the global logistic company Supreme Group, which provides services for the international troops stationed in the war torn country.

The company in a statement said that four crew members of the helicopter who were killed in the Saturday crash were Tajik nationals.

The helicopter was transporting food and water, it said.

‘Investigations as to the cause of the crash are ongoing but no other parties appear to have been involved in the incident,’ the company said

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Include US Civilian Contractors in US Deaths/Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan

The President of the United States: Include U.S Civilian Contractors in Deaths/Injured in Iraq & Afghanistan

Please go here to sign the petition

Why This Is Important

As Americans, we all feel a sense of patriotism when it comes to our great country. The men and women who chose to go to Iraq and Afghanistan in a civilian capacity to serve our country are NOT included in the numbers when they tally the numbers of Deaths and Injured. Why should they be included you may ask? Why should they be excluded I ask.

When a civilian contractor is killed or injured the American people are paying the bill. Survivor benefits, worker’s compensation, funeral expenses, medical expenses etc are all paid for by the American people. While the multi-billion dollar private military companies like (DynCorp, KBR, Xe, etc.) sit back and continue to reap the benefits of the continued international conflicts.

If you know a civilian contractor who is currently employed, has been injured, has been killed please sign our petition. Although many of these men and women who chose to serve our country in the civilian capacity are retired military personnel, they receive no acknowldgement of their sacrafices when they are injured or killed.

Instead our Government wants to hide these brave men and women and not include these losses in the numbers of Americans who have sacrificed

Please sign the petition here

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractors Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, Pentagon, Politics, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, USACE, USAID, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Injured War Contractors Sue Over Health Care, Disability Payments

T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011

Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit [1] in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.

The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.

The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures [2]kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.

An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20 [3] into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.

The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones

September 27, 2011 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Corruption, Defense Base Act, DynCorp, Follow the Money, Government Contractor, Interpreters, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Wackenhut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attack on British Council kills 10 – but panic room saves teachers

Yesterday G4S Secure Solutions, the security contractor that guards the council’s staff confirmed that three of its Afghan employees were killed while six others, three Nepalese former Gurkhas and three Afghans, were injured

By Terri Judd and Aleem Agha in Kabul   The Independent  August 20, 2011

The Taliban brought terror to the streets of Kabul again yesterday with a double suicide strike at the British Council compound in the Afghan capital, which left at least 10 people dead.

Militants stormed the building, starting an eight-hour gun battle with Afghan security forces and New Zealand special forces as teachers from the charity sheltered in a panic room.

The attack, apparently timed to coincide with the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain, was aimed at the UK. Once again, though, it was the locals who bore the brunt of the violence

Read more here

August 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, G4S | , , , , | Leave a comment

At least 132 Overseas Civilian Contractors Killed in second quarter of 2011

Defense Base Act Case Summary Reports through June 30, 2011

Defense Base Act Death Claims filed from April 1 though June 30      132

Defense Base Act Injury Claims over four days lost                                   1,204

At least 80 Contractors killed in first quarter of 2011

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, War Hazards Act | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Fallen Contractors in our thoughts this Memorial Day

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

Taliban Attack Contractor Compound, Killing 35 Afghans

By HABIB KHAN TOTAKHIL  at The Wall Street Journal

KABUL—The Taliban attacked a construction company’s compound in eastern Afghanistan, killing 35 Afghan workers employed by a U.S.-funded road project, Afghan officials said.

In the predawn strike on the Galaxy Sky compound in Paktia province, the Taliban killed security guards, engineers and laborers, said provincial government spokesman Rohullah Samon. Eight militants were also killed as the company’s guards fought back, he added.

The attack was the bloodiest so far on U.S.-funded contractors since the beginning of the Taliban’s spring offensive, which began May 1. In a statement announcing the offensive, the Taliban promised to target contractors associated with the Afghan government or foreign forces.

The Taliban especially oppose road-building programs, which make it easier for coalition armored vehicles to patrol insurgent-dominated areas.

Galaxy Sky, an Afghan construction company, is building a 35-kilometer (22-mile) stretch of road in an area under Taliban influence, Mr. Samon said.

Please read the entire report here

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Taliban | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bombers Storm U.S. Aid Compound in Afghanistan

The USAID compound in Kunduz after an attack by six suicide bombers.

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and SHARIFULLAH SAHAK at The New York Times
Published: July 2, 2010

ABUL, Afghanistan — A half-dozen suicide bombers stormed the compound of a American contractor working for the United States Agency for International Development in the northern city of Kunduz on Friday, killing at least four people before the militants were themselves killed during a six-hour-long firefight, according to Afghan officials. No Americans were said to have died, according to initial reports.

But as many as three of the dead were foreigners, including a German and a Filipino, according to accounts from the local authorities. British officials were also investigating reports that one of its citizens was killed. One Afghan police officer died, and 23 other people were wounded, including police, security guards, and civilians, said the governor of Kunduz Province, Mohammed Omar.

The Taliban took credit for the attack on the compound of DAI, which is also known as Development Alternatives Inc., a United States-based global consultant which contracts with Usaid to help bolster governance, development and economic growth in other countries.

The attack began around 3 a.m. when the first bomber exploded his car at the gate of the compound. Five other suicide bombers raced inside the building, where they began firing rifles, Mr. Omar said.

The five other attackers all eventually died inside the building, according to the governor, but he did not make it clear whether they had been shot by Afghan forces or had blown themselves up.

“The building has been destroyed,” Mr. Omar said. He also said six American employees trapped inside along with four security guards had been rescued by Afghan forces. There were unconfirmed reports that some employees fled to the roof of the building during the battle.

The assault was the latest in a string of Taliban attacks on foreign workers and compounds, especially those doing development work, in what has seemed to be a response to American and NATO forces increasing the pace of their military operations throughout the country.

Many of these attacks have come in Kandahar, the hub of southern Afghanistan, were militants have been killing political leaders, foreign workers and their Afghan colleagues, including a young Afghan woman who worked for DAI who was gunned down in April as she drive home in a motorized rickshaw just a few hundred yards from her office.

Kunduz, one the country’s major northern cities, is less volatile than Kandahar. But the province has become increasingly contested over the past year as Taliban leaders have tried to consolidate their control of areas that until recently has been considered relatively safe. German troops have been the major western military force in the region, but new American troops have been arriving in northern Afghanistan to bolster the NATO presence in Kunduz and other northern provinces.

A NATO statement said the Kunduz attack “was an attempt to intimidate Afghans and members of the international community trying to improve the lives of all Afghans.” It said NATO troops were helping Afghan forces at the site and treating injured civilians at a nearby military base.  Original Story here

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, State Department | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security Contractors killed in IED Blast, Afghanistan, May 6, 2010

A young American, a civilian contractor, working as a security guard was involved in an IED blast. He was the backseat passenger in a vehicle similar to a Toyota Land Cruiser – NOT the armored MRAP vehicle I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog. The driver and front-seat passenger were killed at the scene.

I was Overcome

Another date that will be forever etched in my mind is Thursday, 6 May 2010. I had just returned from the gym. It was about 1330 when I walked into the FST building expecting to see what I normally see at that time of day, a few folks sitting in the ICU area reading, bullshitting or on the computers. There was no one there, which was odd, but I could hear some voices in the ATLS area (where our trauma patients enter our facility), so I realized we must have received a patient. What I didn’t realize was that I was about to be involved in the care of a patient with the most horrific and devastating injuries our team may ever see. A young American, a civilian contractor, working as a security guard was involved in an IED blast. He was the backseat passenger in a vehicle similar to a Toyota Land Cruiser – NOT the armored MRAP vehicle I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog. The driver and front-seat passenger were killed at the scene. Now, we typically are notified by telephone or radio when patients will be arriving, but in this case there was no “heads-up”. There was a medic on this patient’s team who performed some initial life-saving interventions at the scene and then had him driven directly to us since we were the closest medical facility. He had vital signs (blood pressure and heart beat) until he got to the front gate of the FOB, less than a minute’s drive to the FST.

I walked in just minutes after his arrival, amazed at what I saw. I watched as HM2 Gavin Rampertaap was performing CPR. I watched HM3 Kevin Hines assisting the patient’s breathing with a bag-valve mask through a breathing tube inserted by the medic (I don’t know how he placed the tube; you could barely see where the patient’s mouth was on his face). I watched HM2 Alonzo (I call him Zo) Shields running to the OR to get equipment. I watched HM3 Hasan Hafiz and HN John Hitchcock cutting off the patient’s pants from what was left of his legs – both were mangled. I watched HM2 Patrick Malveda applying a tourniquet to what was left of the patient’s right arm. I watched Doc Z, bald head and all, inserting a large bore IV into a big vein in the patient’s chest so I could start transfusing blood. I watched LCDR Sue Howell documenting everything that was being done to the patient while at the same time trying to get information about the incident from the medic who brought him to us. I watched CDR Charlie Godinez directing the entire team as he pondered his next intervention; which happened to be another emergency thoracotomy (see earlier post Birthday Cakes and Bombs). While CDR Godinez was “cracking” the patient’s chest, CDR Cheuk Hong was attempting to place another large bore IV in the patients groin so that we could get more blood into the patient faster. After all of the above interventions failed to get the patient’s heart to beat again, he was pronounced dead at 1413. This resuscitation was different for me. I had a different perspective. Maybe it was because I was only transfusing blood – I don’t know. I kind of stood back and watched the expressions on the other team member’s faces as they worked. It was surreal, like I wasn’t really there.

We decided early on in this mission that we would debrief as a group after every resuscitation – to talk about what we did well, or not-so-well, and to provide “lessons learned” in the event we have a similar patient in the future. Whoever led the trauma resuscitation leads the debrief then proceeds around the room asking for input from every member of the team who was involved. So, CDR Godinez started and when he was through he went around the trauma bay asking for comments; I was somewhere near the middle of the group, but I wasn’t really listening to what anyone was saying. I just kept thinking about the effort those young corpsmen just put into trying to save that man’s life. I’m almost certain none of them ever saw anything so shocking in their lives. Any one of them could have easily thought the situation was too overwhelming for them and just walked out, and everyone else there would have understood. But, they didn’t. They pressed on, without missing a beat. The next thing I know I hear CDR Godinez say my name, but I found myself unable to speak. I was so overcome I was crying – tears and snot running down my face. I simply shook my head side-to-side. I wasn’t crying because a great man just died in front of me with injuries that would make almost anyone else vomit. I was crying because I was overwhelmed with pride; I was proud to be a part of this outstanding team, doing incredible things, under austere conditions, in a fourth-world country. But mostly I was proud of the corpsmen. They are all between 22 and 29 years old. Many are married and most have children. They don’t get paid a lot and the most junior often get some of the worst taskings here, but when the shit hits the fan like it did on this day, you know they are going to be there, doing what they do, and it’s an unbelievable thing to witness. I am honored to know, and get to work with, every one of them!

And we are honored to have you caring for our casualties…….

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Attacks against contractors surging in Afghanistan

By NOOR KHAN and TIM SULLIVAN (AP)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The message, very often, is sent with bloodshed.

A suicide bombing last week on a fortified Kandahar guesthouse shared by Western contracting companies killed four Afghans and injured several Americans. An Afghan engineer was shot dead in March as he helped inspect a school not far from the Pakistan border. An Afghan woman who worked for a U.S.-based consulting firm was shot by motorbike-riding gunmen as she headed home in this southern city.

Attacks on U.S. contractors, construction companies and aid organizations have been rising just as the United States pushes faster development of Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest countries, as a priority in its strategy to counter the insurgency.

The number of contractor attacks is elusive since the workers are from many nations and work for a number of different organizations, but the toll has jumped precipitously since President Barack Obama launched a massive troop surge last December.

Of the 289 civilians working for U.S. contractors killed between the start of the Afghanistan war in late 2001 and the end of last year, 100 died in just the last six months of 2009, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

To a degree, those killings have mirrored an increase in U.S. service member deaths, which roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.

Many of the recent attacks against civilian contractors have been around Kandahar, the one-time Taliban capital where the U.S. is poised to launch a major operation in the coming weeks, but violence against contractors has spiked across Afghanistan.

“The insurgents are trying to say ‘You can’t do it,'” Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a speech last week in Paris, shortly after two bombings shook Kandahar. “I think we’ll see that for months as they make an effort to stop progress. But I don’t think that they’ll be successful.”

In some ways, though, they already have been successful.

Contractors say they are staying in the country, but they have been forced to retreat even further behind blast walls and heavily armed security perimeters. The security drives up costs, making interaction with regular Afghans harder and slowing reconstruction projects.

“We have become the targets of the Taliban,” said Azizullah, the owner of a construction company that builds bridges and irrigation projects in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, insurgent strongholds. “If we travel, they try to kidnap us and hold us for huge ransoms. If we don’t pay, they kill us,” said Azizullah, who like many Afghans has only one name.

His workers travel in U.S. military convoys for protection whenever possible, he said.

That doesn’t surprise Gulali, a tribal elder from Kandahar province. “Of course the Taliban are against any of these people working for the Afghan government or the Americans or other foreigners,” said the elder, who also uses only one name.

He believes many of the recent attacks are by militants simply looking for softer targets. While nearly all foreign companies in Afghanistan now work out of guarded compounds, they do not have the massive fortifications and overwhelming firepower found at nearly any American military installation.

The Taliban “want to use the easiest option,” he said.

But the attacks are challenging a key part of America’s aims in Afghanistan.

Washington’s counterinsurgency plans call for aggressive development to build up everything from Afghanistan’s roads to its sewer systems to its irrigation networks. Much of the actual work is paid for by USAID, the government’s main international aid agency, then contracted through corporations that often subcontract the actual the work to smaller companies. On the ground, many employees are Afghans overseen by small groups of Western administrators.

The attacks “are not about armed confrontation. They are about subversion of the government,” said Terrence K. Kelly, a senior researcher at the Washington-based RAND Corporation who has studied how rebuilding efforts work in war zones. America’s strategy counts on development work to increase the legitimacy and reach of the Karzai government. With these attacks the Taliban can “turn off the delivery of services — which makes the government look bad,” he said.

USAID insists it will not scale back its work in Afghanistan because of the attacks, according to Rebecca Black, the agency’s deputy mission director for Afghanistan.

Contractors insist they are also staying.

The Louis Berger Group/Black & Veatch, a joint venture building major infrastructure projects across the country, was among the companies based in the Kandahar guest house attacked last week.

In a statement, the joint venture said they were “currently conducting a comprehensive review of the recent events in Kandahar to assess what changes, if any, are required to continue our work.”

Sullivan reported from Kabul. Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Deb Riechmann in Kabul and Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Uncategorized, Wartime Contracting | , , , | Leave a comment