Report shows massive gain of contractors in Afghan war

KABUL (TOLOnews): The outpouring of money from the US government for the Afghan war provided billions of dollars to military contractors, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The WSJ said the military outsourcing meant the US Department of Defense spent 14 trillion dollars for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that began after September 11, 2001.
“A California businessman running a bar in Kyrgyzstan started a fuel business that brought in billions in revenue. A young Afghan translator transformed a deal to provide forces with bed sheets into a business empire including a TV station and a domestic airline,” the report said.
“Two Army National Guardsmen from Ohio started a small business providing the military with Afghan interpreters that grew to become one of the Army’s top contractors. It collected nearly $4 billion in federal contracts, according to publicly available records,” it added.
The reports also showed major instances of embezzlement. According to the report, the Defense Department spent six million dollars on a project which was aimed to import nine Italian goats to fuel the Afghan cashmere market but the project “never reached scale.”
Political analysts said the US defeat in Afghanistan was due to the war becoming a business.
“One of the main things that caused the collapse of the Afghan government and the US defeat in Afghanistan was the war becoming a business in Afghanistan,” said Muqadam Ameen, a political analyst.
“The corruption existed at a high-level, even the salaries of the (Afghan) security forces were being embezzled,” said Sadeq Hameedzui.
The report also quoted some US military officials who said that outsourcing to contractors was essential for operations.
When fighting a war with an all-volunteer military smaller than in past conflicts, and without a draft, “you have to outsource so much to contractors to do your operations,” said Christopher Miller, acting Defense Secretary of the Trump administration as quoted by the WSJ.
“Dedicated support offered by many thousands of contractors to US military missions in Afghanistan served many important roles to include freeing up uniformed forces for vital war fighting efforts,” Rob Lodewick, a Pentagon spokesman told the WSJ.
The Islamic Emirate reacted to the report and said that despite pouring a large amount of money into Afghanistan, the country has not been rebuilt.
“A lot of money was injected into Afghanistan but was not used for development. The former government was very weak,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in a survey found that only 15 percent of the 7.8 billion dollars which was earmarked for development projects was spent.
The WSJ said that “one-third to half of” 14 trillion dollars of the cost of war in Afghanistan and Iran “went to contractors”.