The surge: civilian contractors in Afghanistan?

Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo reports on a Congressional Research Service report out today, showing the dramatic surge in civilian contractors working in Afghanistan. Contractors now account for a nearly a third of the armed forces in the country. The TPM story explains: It’s worth noting two points here to clarify the role and ...

574261_contractor-graph2.jpg
574261_contractor-graph2.jpg

Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo reports on a Congressional Research Service report out today, showing the dramatic surge in civilian contractors working in Afghanistan. Contractors now account for a nearly a third of the armed forces in the country. The TPM story explains:

It's worth noting two points here to clarify the role and makeup of the contractor army: first, 90% of the DOD private security contractors in Afghanistan are Afghan nationals, according to the report. Second, contractors are barred by DOD regulations from taking part in "offensive" operations. However, the numbers in this report refers to armed contractors who may well be taking part in combat.

"Many analysts believe that armed security contractors are taking part in combat operations, arguing in part that international law makes no distinction between the offensive or defensive nature of participation in combat," the report notes.

Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo reports on a Congressional Research Service report out today, showing the dramatic surge in civilian contractors working in Afghanistan. Contractors now account for a nearly a third of the armed forces in the country. The TPM story explains:

It’s worth noting two points here to clarify the role and makeup of the contractor army: first, 90% of the DOD private security contractors in Afghanistan are Afghan nationals, according to the report. Second, contractors are barred by DOD regulations from taking part in "offensive" operations. However, the numbers in this report refers to armed contractors who may well be taking part in combat.

"Many analysts believe that armed security contractors are taking part in combat operations, arguing in part that international law makes no distinction between the offensive or defensive nature of participation in combat," the report notes.

At the same time, the number of contractors in Iraq is decreasing.

Annie Lowrey is assistant editor at FP.

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