Entries in Contractors (3)


US to Cut Back on Diplomatic Personnel in Iraq

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While the American military presence in Iraq is now barely existent, there are still plenty of diplomats and other personnel in the country.  But perhaps, not for long.

There are reports that the State Department is ready to cut its diplomatic corps in half as well as the number of contractors operating in Iraq.

Presently, there are 2,000 State Department personnel working in the U.S. Embassy, the largest such mission in the world.  Meanwhile, it's estimated that 16,000 other personnel, including contractors, are in the country.

The U.S. wants to maintain some influence in Iraq after almost nine years of a military occupation, but it's become clearer that the ruling Shiite government wants as little interference as possible from foreign diplomats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Contractor Assassinated in Baghdad

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Even as the eight-year-long war seemingly winds down, the danger facing Americans who remain in Iraq persists as evidenced by what was apparently a targeted attack Thursday against U.S. contractors in Baghdad.

A U.S. embassy spokesman said a contractor working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Iraq died in a bombing while leaving a campus of Baghdad University.  Another American was wounded in the attack, along with another civilian.

The bomb used in the attack was described as an explosively-formed penetrator, which is the favorite weapon of radical Shiite militias opposed to the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq.

There were indications that the bodyguards working for the USAID team were alerted to the possibility of a terrorist strike but attempts to move the contractors safely off the campus failed when the bomb exploded as their cars were pulling away.

Both Shiite and Sunni groups have stepped up their attacks on American soldiers and civilians ahead of the scheduled military pullout at the end of 2011.

Thursday's attack came hours before three bombs ripped through a marketplace in southwest Baghdad, killing 33 people and wounding at least 82 others.  While strikes against the civilian population have tailed off dramatically since the height of the war, the level of risk for Iraqis in going about their everyday tasks remains stubbornly high.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Report Alleges Taliban Is Guarding U.S. Bases in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images

A Senate report claims that private security contractors used to protect convoys and bases are undermining the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by hiring guards who are either unqualified or identified as criminals, drug users or Taliban insurgents.

The Pentagon is being held accountable for 125 security contracts employing tens of thousands of people at a cost of well over $100 million.

In a bristling critique, the Senate Armed Services Committee accused the Defense Department of paying power brokers and warlords “who act contrary to our interests and who contribute to the corruption that weakens the support of the Afghan people for their government and for our effort.”

Committee chairman Carl Levin said that the main problem is that many of those hired are poorly vetted and not familiar with weapons or other equipment, adding that because of improper supervision by contractors, they pose “grave risks” to American and NATO forces.

Levin slammed the Pentagon for poor oversight and for allegedly being more interested in handing out contracts than being held accountable for whom they hire.

General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has warned about the over-reliance on contractors while Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently issued an order to shut down all domestic and foreign private contractors within four months.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio