Senate report slams Afghan security contractors

Friday - 10/8/2010, 8:40am EDT

The army of private contractors working for the U.S. in Afghanistan threatens the safety of American troops. So says a new Senate Armed Services Committee report, which finds that the U.S. reliance on private security in Afghanistan is poorly monitored and often results in the hiring of Afghan warlords. Investigators are worried that the U.S. is unknowingly fostering the growth of Taliban-linked militias and that the relationship is ultimately profiting the Taliban. The Defense Department doesn't necessarily disagree but warns that firing the estimated 26,000 private security personnel operating in Afghanistan in the near future isn't practical. This summer, U.S. forces in Afghanistan pledged to increase their oversight of security contractors and set up two task forces to look into allegations of misconduct and to track the money spent, particularly among lower-level subcontractors. The Defense Contract Management Agency has increased the number of auditors and support staff in the region by some 300 percent since 2007.

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