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.
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