Little oversight for security contracts: U.S. Senate report

A local security guard watches as Afghan and Canadian Army soldiers conduct a joint patrol through the village of Bazaar e Panjwaii, in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: MILITARY IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT)
According to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon has little oversight over contracted security deals in Afghanistan and, as a result, local security deals between Western companies, American military commanders, and Afghan warlords with close connections to the Taliban are being made (James Risen, “Afghans Linked to the Taliban Guard U.S. Bases,” New York Times, 7 October 2010):

The United States military has almost no independent information on the Afghans guarding the bases, who are employees of Afghan groups hired as subcontractors by Western firms awarded security contracts by the Pentagon. At one large American airbase in western Afghanistan, military personnel did not even know the names of the leaders of the Afghan groups providing base security, the investigators found. So they used the nicknames that the contractor was using — Mr. White and Mr. Pink from “Reservoir Dogs,” the 1992 gangster movie by Quentin Tarantino. Mr. Pink was later determined to be a “known Taliban” figure, they reported.

The report also asserts that some of the Afghans hired by EOD Technology, which holds a contract for security at a training center for police officers, have been providing intelligence to Iran.

The report states that there are more than 26,000 private security employees in Afghanistan and 90% of them are working under American government contracts or subcontracts.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has responded by issuing a letter stating that the Pentagon realizes there is a problem and that it has formed a new task force to modify contracting procedures in Afghanistan.

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