On the day that marked the beginning of the 10th year of the Afghani-Nam cluster(bleep) the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Carl Levin (D-MI), released the results of an investigation which found that private security forces hired by the Pentagon to protect our military bases there include Taliban warlords and people with ties to Iran.
“Afghan private security forces with ties to the Taliban, criminal networks and Iranian intelligence have been hired to guard American military bases in Afghanistan, exposing United States soldiers to surprise attack and confounding the fight against insurgents, according to a Senate investigation.
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.
There are more than 26,000 private security employees in Afghanistan, and 90 percent of them are working under United States government contracts or subcontracts. Almost all are tied to the militias of local warlords and other powerful Afghan figures outside the control of the American military or the Afghan government, the report found.”
But as usual, Congress loves to have investigations and release reports followed by nothing. Especially true when the findings involve the Pentagon, which is apparently a government unto itself, with an unlimited budget and unrestrained power.
“Levin did not indicate that he would seek any legislative fixes. The panel’s investigation likely will inform two Pentagon task forces that are looking into the problems.”
Letting the fox “look into problems” at the henhouse is always a good idea.
“Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, earlier this month issued guidance on the use of contractors “that made it clear that all corrective actions, including terminating contracts and suspending and disbarring contractors, will be on the table,” Levin said.
Levin said that commanders in Afghanistan, with Petraeus in the lead, are committed to change the “status quo” of private security contracts in Afghanistan.”
I take it General Petraeus and Sen. Levin aren’t aware that the State Department recently awarded a 5-year, $10 billion contract to eight private companies for security in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the infamous Blackwater under another name.
But always looking on the bright side, Republicans on the committee “faulted the report for failure to acknowledge the positive impact of providing employment to Afghans.”
If only they were that interested in providing employment to Americans.
“Levin said…that his panel’s report underscores the need to “shut off the spigot” of U.S. money going into the “pockets of warlords.”
I know of one sure-fire way to “shut off the spigot,” Sen. Levin. Get the hell out of there. Now.