DynCorp Running “Counter-Narcotics” Missions Along Pakistan/Afghanistan Border

Counter-Narcotics. *wink*

Via: Wired:

The airspace along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border is pretty crowded these days: Along with U.S., Afghan and Pakistani military missions, the CIA is running its own covert drone ops. Less well known, but perhaps equally controversial, is the State Department’s counter-narcotics air force, staffed by mercenaries.

A recently released State Department Inspector General report, however, gave an unusually detailed look at the size and scope of these operations. The report fills in more details about America’s growing and undeclared war in Pakistan.

The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (known by the abbreviation INL) operates an air wing of around 14 aircraft in Afghanistan and another 17 in Pakistan. The aircraft help monitor the border, fly crop-eradication and interdiction missions, and move equipment and personnel around the region.

These kinds of missions aren’t new: The State Department has similar Air Wing programs in Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru. Perhaps more importantly, the State Department has outsourced much of this mission. The INL’s air wing in Afghanistan and Pakistan is operated by private military company DynCorp, and the presence of U.S. contractors in Pakistan has proven extremely controversial (the released IG report, not surprisingly, was originally marked “sensitive but unclassified”).


Drugs Suspected in 2nd DynCorp Death

A U.S. contractor helping to train Afghanistan’s national police was found dead of a possible drug overdose last week in Kabul, just months after the State Department reprimanded his company for another worker’s drug-related death.

The deaths have raised questions about DynCorp International’s vetting and management of employees assigned to the police-training contract, a crucial component of the U.S. effort to hand over security responsibilities to the Afghans.

The leaders of an independent panel investigating wartime spending said Wednesday that they are troubled that drugs appear to be involved in the deaths of two workers hired by the State Department’s largest contractor.

“This shouldn’t be treated as an isolated event that [the State Department] can ignore,” said Christopher Shays, co-chairman of the Commission on Wartime Contracting. “They really need to step in and say, ‘Do we have a drug problem at DynCorp?’ ”

A State Department spokesman said an investigation is underway. A toxicology test will be conducted to determine if drugs were a factor.

A DynCorp spokesman said the company would not speculate on the cause of the death.

— Associated Press

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