Pentagon Gets Around Troop Ban in Pakistan by Outsourcing Weapons Transport
(map: University of Texas)
Unable to deploy troops in Pakistan, but still in need of ways to transport weapons across it and into Afghanistan, the U.S. government is looking for defense contractors who can take on the task of logistical support through Pakistani territory. The Department of Defense has put out requests for companies to bid on the risky job of moving equipment and weaponry through sensitive areas of Pakistan—and to collect intelligence related to threat assessments.
The Nation has reported that U.S. personnel will be involved in the supply operation carried out by the contractor, which could mean the effort is being used to bypass the stated policy of no troops in Pakistan.
“Perhaps most striking about this US military contract solicitation is the admission by the military that contractors are being used for shipping and guarding military hardware as a run-around to the current official policy of the US and Pakistan governments that the US military does not conduct operations in Pakistan,” writes Jeremy Scahill in The Nation.
Among those interested in the job are an Afghan firm connected to the CIA and run by the son of Afghanistan’s defense minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, as well as a Pakistani company linked to the controversial security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater.