There Are 108,000 Private Contractors in Afghanistan and the Pentagon Has No Idea What They're Doing

Abby Zimet

Edward Snowden's NSA leaks have highlighted the issue of lack of oversight for intelligence contractors, but they're not the only contractors acting on their own. Two recently released reports, by the Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office, show that the number of private contractors in Afghanistan is on the rise - they now far outnumber troops, with 108,000 private workers vs. 65,700 soldiers, or 1.6 contractors for every soldier - and that the Pentagon "lacks the ability to document the work each contractor is performing." The result: A de facto private army likely for years to come, with little or no accountability or transparency, which over the last six years has cost the Department of Defense approximately $160 billion, "a figure that exceeds total contract obligations of any other U.S. federal agency." Welcome to the drawdown.

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