The U.S. View: Yeah, We May Have a Contractor Problem

As discussed in the last post, Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s decision to toss companies using non Afghan private security may be an ill-advised, baby/bathwater move.

The U.S. has confirmed, “Yeah, we have contractor challenges.” (Surprised?) Dubbed “war by contract” during Vietnam, U.S. reliance on the mighty contractor has grown. (Surprised?)

The Congressional Research Service reported 60 percent of Department of Defense workers are contractors – that number takes into account military and DoD civilians. Contractors can be found throughout Afghanistan in a variety of roles. Inside the wire, they maintain installations and feed the federal city of Americans and their allies. Outside the sprawling installations, aside from providing security, contractors fill crucial roles such as trainers for the Afghan police.

Hamid Karzai. Image via
Hamid Karzai. Image via

Back on the private security front, an area vexing to President Karzai, there is concern on Capitol Hill that the Afghan-owned private security companies are funneling money to the Taliban.

Ah, but is it ever that simple? One security specialist alleges U.S. contracting fuels Afghan corruption. Afghan culture has long been singled out as the culprit. Are outside sources to blame?

Given the infighting and conflicting allegations made by those who are supposed to be working together to solve the Afghanistan dilemma, can progress be made in a nation caught in the middle?

Is the U.S. positioned where it needs to be in the region? Is this about vanity more than hunting Taliban?

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