Senate Probe: US Base Guards Tied to Taliban

Pentagon Exercising No Oversight Over Contractors

A Senate investigation has expressed serious concern about the Pentagon’s hiring of private Afghan contractors to guard US military bases in Afghanistan, noting that they had next to no information about who was being hired and exercised no oversight over them.

Rather the Pentagon would leave it up to the contractor, who often hired out subcontractors and warlords to provide the security. In many cases this meant untrained guards and unmanned posts, and that criminals and drug users were regularly hired.

But matters only got worse, as the probe found that in many cases the warlords in charge of providing large numbers of the guards were Taliban agents, and some of the people provided had Taliban ties.

The fact that this went largely unnoticed until the Senate’s probe shows how easily the bases could have been infiltrated by Taliban forces. Yet a representative of the security firms shrugged off the complaints, insisting there’s “not a huge amount of choice in the local hires” and that it was unreasonable to expect that they wouldn’t be hiring people who work for the Taliban.

The Karzai government is poised to ban all private contractors in Afghanistan, expressing hope that they could be lured into joining the government’s security forces. Which might mean the infiltration of the security forces by the Taliban is about to get a whole lot worse.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of