Afghan Warlords, Insurgents Hired to Guard US Bases
Senate panel says lack of oversight creating 'grave risks' for US troops
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2010 11:40 PM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2010 12:05 AM CDT
A private security guard stands near a site of a car bomb explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(Newser) – American contractors in Afghanistan have hired security forces with links to the Taliban, warlords, and even Iranian intelligence services to guard US bases in Afghanistan, according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report. The report found that "systemic failures" exist in the Pentagon's oversight of Afghan guards and that the use of contractors is fueling the same forces the US is fighting, the New York Times reports.

"These contractors threaten the security of our troops and risk the success of our mission," panel chairman Carl Levin said. "There is significant evidence that some security contractors even work against our coalition forces, creating the very threat that they are hired to combat." Levin said the report shows that the US needs to reduce its reliance on private contractors, although the Defense Department warns that firing the 26,000 private security personnel working for US forces in Afghanistan isn't practical.