A year and a half after President Barack Obama issued an executive order outlawing human trafficking and forced labor on U.S. military bases, a five-month investigation by “Fault Lines” has found compelling evidence that these abuses remain pervasive at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan.
“Fault Lines” traveled to India, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan to trace the journey of a typical migrant worker seeking a job at a U.S. military base. We found Department of Defense subcontractors and their recruiters colluding to profit directly from exorbitant fees charged to job candidates, who are sometimes left with no choice but to work for six to 12 months to recoup those costs.
Over the past decade, the U.S. military has outsourced its overseas base-support responsibilities to private contractors, which have filled the lowest-paying jobs on military bases with third-country nationals, migrant workers who are neither U.S. citizens nor locals. As of January 2014, there were 37,182 third-country nationals working on bases in the U.S. Central Command region, which includes Afghanistan and Iraq — outnumbering both American and local contract workers.
As Afghanistan Drawdown Looms, Inspector General Warns Of Graft | Matt Sledge
America’s watchdog for Afghanistan is watching the country slip away.
"Every time I visit, I am told by people that we are succeeding," says John Sopko. "I’m not an expert on war-fighting, but I know I can see less of the country every time I go because of security problems."
Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, is looking ahead to a future where his investigators cannot travel to distant provinces to document waste and corruption. That’s a problem that could have big implications as billions of dollars in aid continue to flow to rebuild the country rated the third-most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, 12 years after the American invasion.
As worrying stories trickle out about the state of the Afghan government and military, U.S. government agencies sending billions to Afghanistan — the State and Defense Departments, and the U.S. Agency for International Development — are eager to show that the money is nevertheless being well-spent.
FULL ARTICLE (Huffington Post)
Photo: Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction/flickr
BUT PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS ARE THE PROBLEM YOU GUYS!
“In 2009, the NATO training command set a goal for the end of 2014 that all Afghan security forces would have a first-grade level of literacy, and that half would be able to read and write at the third-grade level. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found that 64 percent had first-grade ability and 21 percent were at the third-grade level. The police and army have about 352,000 personnel.”
“The smoke alarm is going off, but the batteries are rapidly losing power and we don’t seem to have a plan to respond,”
The blue areas are the only places the U.S. will still be able to oversee taxpayer-funded reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan when 2014 rolls around. Outside those blue areas are more than $1 billion worth of projects run by contractors that will have to be overseen by additional contractors. See how this map has changed from 2009 to 2014.
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract.”
John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
This building might not look like much, but it cost $34 million. It was meant to serve as command headquarters in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of the surge yet will go unused instead. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction has released an alert letter today raising concerns about the building, which the I Marine Expeditionary Force requested be canceled in May of 2010, a few months after the request for funds went to the Pentagon. The facilities were constructed anyway, and are costly to maintain. There has even been money spent on it to add to it as recently as this year. It will now either be demolished or handed over to Afghan forces.
The SIGAR, John Sopko writes:
I toured the facilty and, as the photographs show on the following page, in my opinion it appears to be an impressive and well-constructed building. In fact, it appears to be the best constructed building I have seen in my travels to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied, and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose.
Photo, and others of the facility, at Flickr.