The Senate Armed Services Committee announced this month that Defense Department security contracts resulted in millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars being funneled to the Taliban. After a year-long investigation, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that they found “significant evidence that some security contractors even worked against our coalition forces, creating the very threat that they are hired to prevent."
One week earlier, another investigation by the U.S. Agency for International Development found that a U.S. funded development project in northern Afghanistan inadvertently paid millions of dollars to the militancy for security.
The total number of armed security guards under contract with the Defense Department has risen with the increase in our troop strength. Currently, there are 26,000, which is greater than a U.S. Army division. Most of the security personnel are Afghans.
The Washington Post reported yesterday, however, that reconstruction projects in Afghanistan are beginning to be shut down because of the Afghan government’s recent ban on the use of private security guards. The situation was described as having “far-reaching effects on the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban, disrupting a central component of the strategy to counter the insurgency at a critical moment in the war.”
Last week, the Department of Defense released the obituaries of six military personnel killed in Afghanistan, ranging in age from 19 to 28. Five of the fallen heroes were killed by improvised explosive devices in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.
The obituary of one 24-year-old soldier killed in Iraq was also released. His death was classified as being caused by a non-combat-related injury.
According to the website icasualties.org, total U.S. deaths now amount to 1,348 in Afghanistan and 4,426 in Iraq, for a total of 5,774.