The issue is at the center of convoluted discussions between Biden administration officials trying to develop workarounds for the myriad of issues associated with President Biden`s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops — and the contractors who support them — from Afghanistan. The withdrawal is expected to be completed between early and mid-July. Under the Trump administration, private security companies with Pentagon contracts numbered nearly 6,000 and cost $2.3 billion ($3.1 billion) in 2019. When the U.S. military withdrawal began, these private contractors fell to about 1,400 in July. When U.S. contractors withdrew with U.S. troops this spring and summer, taking with them their knowledge of how to maintain U.S.-supplied aircraft, Afghanistan`s top leaders complained bitterly to the U.S. that they had deprived them of a significant advantage over the Taliban. An assessment by the inspectors general of the Pentagon, the State Department and the United States last fall. The Agency for International Development noted that labor shortages, coronavirus restrictions and lack of oversight made it difficult for U.S.

military officials to hold contractors accountable for performance standards. Even if it could reach the helicopter to try to maintain it, the Afghan military would face another growing problem: it relies heavily on U.S. and foreign contractors for repairs, maintenance, refueling, training, and other jobs needed to keep their forces moving, and those contractors are now leaving with the U.S. military. Leaving a vacuum that leaders on both sides say could be crippling for Afghan forces as they face the Taliban alone. In both cases, these Afghan entrepreneurs fell into the shady legal vacuum between the private security company that employed them locally and the governments that contracted their employers. In addition to maintaining airports and bases, equipment and aircraft, the army and contractors rely on a force of Afghan contractors and premises for workers, such as cooks, laundry staff, drivers and translators – employees who will be most financially affected by the withdrawal. At the height of the war, it was estimated that more than 12,000 Afghans were working in Bagram. Today, there are still about 1,700. «After four years as a translator, I fear being fired.

We are all worried. We`ve seen this before, and in what seemed like a day, hundreds of us left the bases for the last time,» says an Afghan entrepreneur who works in Bagram. «I was lucky, but I`m not betting on keeping my job this time. Maybe I`ve already seen my last paycheck. We are all preparing for the worst. Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, accused vulnerable defense contractors in war zones of resorting to disbursements to armed groups, making protection money one of the biggest sources of funding for the Taliban. Relying less on private contractors and more on the U.S. military than in previous wars could have given the U.S. a better chance of winning in Afghanistan, Vittori noted. She said this would have meant that US presidents had accepted the political risks of sending more US troops to Afghanistan and recovering more body bags of US troops. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S.

Central Command, said contractors like the U.S. military would come out, but many don`t initially work for the military — rather for other departments and a number of private entities. ==External links==The International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs retain subcontractors for ongoing programs outside Kabul despite the withdrawal. «McKenzie was talking about American contractors with DoD contracts, but not necessarily other agencies or other nationalities,» says another Bagram entrepreneur. «There are many `ifs` and potential exceptions in this line on his part.» By 2010, Pentagon spending had increased by more than a third as the US fought two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a post-9/11 America, politicians competed to show their support for the military in a country that was becoming much more security-conscious. Could it be that a culture of outsourcing and a culture of entrepreneurs are partly to blame? So far, however, private security firms have been such a critical part of the war effort that their withdrawal has been seen as a key factor in the collapse of the Afghan army. «What they`re going to do is hire Russian contractors now so they can fly their planes,» Mick Mulroy, former assistant assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East under the Trump administration and currently an analyst at ABC News, said. The Afghans had relied on contractors, ranging from training and maintenance of equipment to preparing for intelligence gathering and close air support in their fights against Taliban fighters.

Australia is a signatory to the ICoCA, as are private security companies Gardaworld, Hart International Australia and Hart Security Limited, all of which operate in Afghanistan and have been hired by the Australian government at various times. U.S. officials after the September 11, 2001 attacks viewed private contractors as an essential part of the U.S. military response. Afghanistan, known as «the graveyard of empires,» has been a sauce train for the global private security industry over the past two decades, as war has been increasingly privatized and outsourced. This demand could be met by the billion-dollar industry of private military contractors, as they are not considered «boots on the ground,» but offer the same level and range of capabilities – all at much lower political costs and with a dose of secrecy. The boundaries that distinguish these entrepreneurs from mercenaries are blurred: while private military contractors are considered legal, mercenaries are banned by international and American law, which caused problems for Prince when he trained and trained private armies in Iraq and Libya and planned to privatize the war in Afghanistan. Entrepreneurs are a force on which the U.S.

and Afghan governments depend, and contracts in the country are a big deal for the United States. Since 2002, the Pentagon has spent $107.9 billion on contract services in Afghanistan, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration. The Department of Defense currently employs more than 16,000 contractors in Afghanistan, 6,147 of whom are U.S. citizens, more than double the remaining U.S. troops. Military analysts trying to understand the staggering collapse of the Afghan military increasingly point to the departure of contractors from the US government, which began a month ago, as one of the most important turning points. «We built the Afghan army in our image to be an army operating with air support and intelligence [and] whose backbone is entrepreneurs,» David Sedney, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, said in a recent interview with Foreign Policy. Thus began a seemingly endless stopover, which some Filipino workers described to the AP as a stopover of relentless fear and boredom. The entrepreneurs spoke on condition of anonymity and spoke of the precariousness of their situation.

Problems with the support of entrepreneurs increased long before Mr. Biden in April to withdraw all U.S. military personnel and contractors. «If it were just the money, it would be pretty outrageous,» Hartung, director of the weapons and security program at the Center for International Policy, said of cases where the Pentagon`s reliance on contractors has backfired. «But the fact that it undermined the mission and endangered the troops is even more outrageous.» Those who spoke to the AP said they knew dozens of other entrepreneurs from the Philippines and other countries, including Nepal, who are stuck in Dubai, but could not provide more accurate information. Many American entrepreneurs who have spent years of their lives on the ground in a war that has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars are willing to give up. «If they offered me early termination of my contract, I would accept it,» said one Bagram contractor. «Fuck this place, I mean, good luck to the Afghan guys who were left here with the talibs to be honest, they deserve more but all I can say is they`re fucked.» For those still in Bagram, the U.S. war is not yet ending with an exit from the U.S.

military, and for newcomers who are about to enter Bagram, an important and perhaps more secretive new mission is imminent. And while global private security companies in Afghanistan have closed the store for now, the consequences and human costs associated with outsourcing the war remain. The U.S. also relied in part on defense contractors to accomplish one of the most important key tasks for its hopes of success in Afghanistan — building and training an Afghan army and other security forces capable of resisting extremist groups and insurgents, including the Taliban. .

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