Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

US Taxpayer Dollars Killing American Troops in Afghanistan

Truthout

A U.S. Army 782nd Alpha Company, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle slowly moves through Kandahar city during a late night resupply convoy, April 21, 2010, southern Afghanistan. 782nd members convoyed through the heart of Kandahar to deliver combat supplies to U.S. and Coalition forces stationed at 3 different Forward Operating Bases in the downtown Kandahar area. As phase III tactical cooperation’s set to take place sometime this summer in Kandahar city approaches U.S. and Coalition troops are stocking up on supplies to ensure they have the necessary tools and equipment for the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston)(Released)

A Congressional subcommittee has reached the conclusion that the Pentagon is knowingly providing major support for the Taliban, ignoring hundreds of complaints from Afghan trucking contractors who are being forced to pay massive “protection payments” to insurgents in order to avoid attacks on convoys carrying US military supplies to American bases. The Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, chaired by Rep. John Tierney, interviewed dozens of witnesses in Dubai, including contracting officers of the 484th Joint Movement Control Battalion and Afghan truck contractors who “self-reported.” The truck contractors who self-reported had already complained to the US military about the protection payments to insurgents. The committee gathered over 25,000 pages of documents. The report is entitled “Warlord, Inc.”

The amount estimated as income to the Taliban using figures given in the report is as much as $400 million per year. For comparison purposes, the Taliban’s opium profits are estimated at $300 million per year. Corruption which includes weapons and cash reaching the enemy has been a feature of wars past, notably Vietnam; rarely, however, has the problem reached the level of a primary, and, perhaps, principle, source of funding, exposed in its minutest details by sworn testimony and thousands of pages of documentation.

Knowledge of the practice has run all the way up the chain of command for some time, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling Congress in testimony last June: “You offload a ship in Karachi [Pakistan] and by the time whatever it is – you know, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfasts or anti-IED equipment – gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money.”

Please read the entire article here

December 16, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Taliban | , , , , | Leave a comment

Taliban takes U.S. funds, report says


WASHINGTON — Taliban and Afghan warlords are extorting some of the $2.16 billion the Defense Department has paid to local contractors who transport food, water, ammunition and fuel to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, according to a House investigation to be released Tuesday.

Trucking contractors say they pay as much as $150,000 a month to warlords in “protection” money, and investigators concluded that payments for safe passage are a significant source of Taliban funding, according to a report by the staff of Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., who heads the House national security and foreign affairs subcommittee.

In a letter to subcommittee members, Tierney criticized the Pentagon for a contract “that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on contractors and their unaccountable security providers.”

He wrote, “This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders and corrupt Afghan officials, and perhaps others.” He said the payoffs violate the law and appear “to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan.”

Defense Department officials are scheduled to discuss the findings with the subcommittee today. Cheryl Irwin, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Defense Department is looking into the allegations.

Eight contractors control about 70% of the transportation business in Afghanistan and serve more than 200 U.S. military bases. They work with Afghan security contractors, who cut deals with warlords and the Taliban to allow convoys to pass, the report says.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., questioned the inquiry’s thoroughness, noting that the only record of the interviews is handwritten notes.

The report cites e-mails, interviews with contractors and other documents that indicate payoffs are part of doing business.

A program manager for one trucking company told subcommittee investigators that Commander Ruhullah, a warlord who works with a private security company and controls a critical stretch of road between the capital city of Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar, works closely with the Taliban. Ruhullah denied it.

The report said contractors repeatedly raised their concerns to the U.S. military about payoffs, sometimes as much as $15,000 per truck.

One contractor wrote to the Army unit overseeing trucking contractors, “I also believe that most involved in this contract knew that cash money is often the most effective security, but I do not think it was anticipated how the market would drive these prices and that cash security and special security forces would so often be the only option.”  Original here

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Pentagon | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment