Defense Department census :
"The number of military contractors in Afghanistan [update : including 5,165 armed private security guards] rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point. As the military force in Afghanistan grows further, to a planned 68,000 by the end of the year, the Defense Department expects the ranks of contractors to increase more.
A recent contract is worth up to $15 billion to two firms, DynCorp International Inc. and Fluor Corp., to build and support U.S. military bases throughout Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, government auditors have repeatedly uncovered military mismanagement of contractors. The Wartime Contracting Commission reported finding during an April trip that the military had accepted a new headquarters building in Kabul hobbled by shoddy construction. Officials in Iraq and Afghanistan were unable to give the commission complete lists of work being contracted out at the bases they visited."
Reuters blog : Who is funding the Afghan Taliban?
"The manager of an Afghan firm with lucrative construction contracts with the U.S. government builds in a minimum of 20 percent for the Taliban in his cost estimates. The manager, who will not speak openly, has told friends privately that he makes in the neighborhood of $1 million per month. Out of this, $200,000 is siphoned off for the insurgents.
“I was building a bridge,” he said, one evening over drinks. “The local Taliban commander called and said ‘don’t build a bridge there, we’ll have to blow it up.’ I asked him to let me finish the bridge, collect the money — then they could blow it up whenever they wanted. We agreed, and I completed my project.”
In Farah province, local officials report that the Taliban are taking up to 40 percent of the money coming in for the National Solidarity Program, one of the country’s most successful community reconstruction projects, which has dispensed hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the country over the past six years."
The policy of using contractors allows the government to dole out profitable patronage contracts to their cronies while conducting foreign policy without due oversight. Sure, the Taliban use their cut to kill our troops and some innocents get shot up in the lack of oversight, but you can't make a nest egg without cracking a few hamlets.
Gore Vidal : "In this fashion more than a third of the nation's federal income has been spent for more than a generation in order that the congressmen who give the generals the money they ask for are then re-elected with money given them by the corporations that were awarded federal money by generals who, when they retire, will go to work for those same corporations."
~Matters of Fact and Fiction 1972