Washington, Oct. 8 (ANI): A US Senate investigation has discovered that Afghan private security forces with ties to the Taliban, criminal networks and Iranian intelligence have been hired to guard American military bases in Afghanistan.
According to the probe, this development exposes American soldiers to surprise attack and confounding the fight against insurgents.
According to the New York Times, the United States military has almost no independent information on the Afghans guarding the bases, who are employees of Afghan groups hired as subcontractors by Western firms awarded security contracts by the Pentagon.
At one large American airbase in western Afghanistan, military personnel did not even know the names of the leaders of the Afghan groups providing base security, the investigators found.
So they used the nicknames that the contractor was using - Mr. White and Mr. Pink from "Reservoir Dogs," the 1992 gangster movie by Quentin Tarantino. Mr. Pink was later determined to be a "known Taliban" figure, they reported.
In another incident, the United States military bombed a house where it was believed that a Taliban leader was holding a meeting, only to discover later that the house was owned by an Afghan security contractor to the American military, who was meeting with his nephew - the Taliban leader.
In response to the Senate report, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued a letter saying that the Pentagon recognized the problems and has created new task forces to help overhaul contracting procedures in Afghanistan.
The latest disclosures follow a series of reports, including articles in The New York Times and testimony before a House committee, describing bribes paid by contractors to the Taliban and other warlords to make sure supply convoys for the American military were provided safe passage.
There are more than 26,000 private security employees in Afghanistan, and 90 percent of them are working under United States government contracts or subcontracts. Almost all are tied to the militias of local warlords and other powerful Afghan figures outside the control of the American military or the Afghan government, the report found.
The Senate report focuses heavily on security contracting at remote American military bases in western Afghanistan, including the air base in Shindand, near Herat. (ANI)