Monday, July 28, 2008

Private Contractors' Role in Afghanistan To Grow With Awarding of Latest Contracts

So many people think of private contractors as mercenary killers that it is great to see an acknowledgment that it is the non-military contractors who out number the military kind.

These guys deserve the money they are paid because they are in danger of being killed by the Muslims they are helping. One of the side effects of helping in Muslim lands is that the contractors are usually infidels who just want to make life better and do not care about religion. If Allah wanted life to improve in the Middle East, he would have miracled it better!

Private Contractors' Role in Afghanistan To Grow With Awarding of Latest Contracts - "With billions of dollars newly available in fiscal 2008 supplemental war funding, the Congressional Research Service last month estimated that the Defense Department is now spending $2.3 billion a month in Afghanistan. Add $500 million monthly from the State Department and more from other agencies, and the total U.S. outlay in Afghanistan this fiscal year will be about $34 billion.

The war's demands and the availability of that kind of money guarantee a flood of new contracts. A review of the FBO Daily Web site for July contracts shows that the administration, which in Iraq turned to the private sector for tasks once handled by military or government personnel, is stepping up this practice in Afghanistan.

One of the most ambitious efforts is a solicitation from the U.S. Agency for International Development, clarified on July 15, which proposes expansion of an existing program to "increase both the human and physical capacity of the justice sector in Afghanistan."

The work statement says, frankly, that "corruption, local influence, lack of security and insufficient salaries" along with "lack of both physical and human capacity . . . plague and weaken the ability of the formal court system to deliver justice."

To remedy this, USAID is looking for a private contractor to coordinate what it calls "Justice Sector Development," a huge undertaking that would involve working with U.S. and international organizations, as well as with U.S. and NATO military units engaged in rule-of-law issues. The contractor would work with the Afghan Supreme Court to introduce a simplified case-management system and build courthouses around the country. It would advance the development of law schools and promote "access to justice for women and public awareness of rights."

USAID also announced this month that it is looking for a contractor "to increase licit and commercially viable agricultural-based alternatives for rural Afghans" to replace drug production. The target area is the six provinces in southern Afghanistan described as "most insecure and unstable," including Helmand and Kandahar.

The goal of the contract is to significantly reduce and ultimately eradicate poppy production. In developing alternatives, bidders should consider generating income for the Afghans involved as well as promoting "anti-corruption, gender, 'Afghanization' (local project ownership) and local governance," according to the USAID proposal. "

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