Afghans Linked to the Taliban Guard Bases U.S.
By JAMES RISEN
The Pentagon’s oversight of the Afghan guards is virtually nonexistent, allowing local security deals among American military commanders, Western contracting companies and Afghan warlords who are closely connected to the violent insurgency, according to the report by investigators on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In another incident, the United States military bombed a house where it was believed that a Taliban leader was holding a meeting, only to discover later that the house was owned by an Afghan security contractor to the American military, who was meeting with his nephew — the Taliban leader.
Some Afghans hired by EOD Technology, which was awarded a United States Army contract to provide security at a training center for Afghan police officers in Adraskan, near Shindand, were also providing information to
The Senate Armed Services Committee adopted the report by a unanimous vote, although Republican members issued a statement critical of the report for too narrowly focusing on case studies in western
In response to the Senate report, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued a letter saying that the Pentagon recognized the problems and has created new task forces to help overhaul contracting procedures in
The latest disclosures follow a series of reports, including articles in The New York Times and testimony before a House committee, describing bribes paid by contractors to the Taliban and other warlords to make sure supply convoys for the American military were provided safe passage.
But the Senate report goes further, spelling out the close relations between some contractors and the forces arrayed against the
“We must shut off the spigot of U.S. dollars flowing into the pockets of warlords and power brokers who act contrary to our interests,” said Senator Carl Levin, the
“There are truly some outrageous allegations here, and it’s a wake-up call that we have to get a better handle on contractors in Afghanistan and ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t end up in the hands of the enemy,” said Richard Fontaine, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington research group.
There are more than 26,000 private security employees in
The contracting firms are now hiring active-duty members of the Afghan military and security forces, the investigators found, further undermining the efforts by the
The Senate report focuses heavily on security contracting at remote American military bases in western
“The two warlords and their successors served as manpower providers for ArmorGroup for the next 18 months — a period marked by a series of violent incidents,” the report found.
Fights soon erupted between the forces of Mr. White and Mr. Pink, with Mr. Pink finally killing Mr. White. Mr. Pink then sought refuge with the Taliban. ArmorGroup then turned to Mr. White’s brother, Mr. White II, to run its security force, but also continued to employ Mr. Pink’s men, even though they knew he was now working with the Taliban.
In a raid on Aug., 21, 2008, in
The Azizabad raid sparked outrage within
Mr. Karzai visited the village after the attack, and President George W. Bush called Mr. Karzai to express his regret. But the report shows that the bombing raid was entangled in the interplay between contractors and the Taliban, and occurred during a meeting between Mr. White II and the suspect Taliban leader, Mullah Sadeq.
Providing contracts to local militia leaders with ties to the Taliban “gives these warlords an independent funding source,” observed Carl Forsberg, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs