Afghan Troops Frequently Robbed US-Funded Support Staff

SIGAR: Workers often detained, some $780,000 stolen from them

A new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) looking into waste and property loss of US-funded contractors in Afghanistan didn’t have a hard time narrowing down the problem: simple theft.

Contractors on work sites were routinely abused, robbed of property, detained, or forced to do unpaid work above and beyond the scope of their contract by Afghan forces. Reports suggest over $780,000 in property belonging to contractors was wrongfully seized by the Afghan forces they were meant to support, leaving the US on the hook to compensate them.

Clearly this wasn’t meant to happen, and the US was meant to have a system in place to fine Afghan forces doing this, though SIGAR reports that there are no records of any Afghan force ever having been held accountable for either robbing or abusing contractors.

Such problems are all but inevitable in Afghanistan, with its enormous rates of corruption, and the military’s notoriously low pay scale. Bribery systems and confiscation are the order of the day for anyone with even the appearance of official authority, and with the US both paying for them and never holding anyone accountable, these were no doubt seen as particularly easy targets.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.