Why Was The U.S. State Department Funding This Shady Private Military Contractor?

Fatimah Mazhar
A particularly shady company, with a record of controversies, successfully ate up around 70% of the U.S. Afghan funding for over a decade.

In a series of special investigation reports released last week, the U.S. State of Department was slammed for wasting 69% of funds allocated for Afghanistan’s reconstruction by most of them away to an extremely shady private military contractor.

Despite its checkered history – especially during the Iraq War – DynCorp International Inc. landed billion-dollar government projects in Afghanistan over the course of ten years, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) pointed out on Thursday.

Of the $4 billion spent by the on Afghan reconstruction from 2002 to 2013, $2.5 billion went to DynCorp, almost 69% of all the money awarded by the State Department over almost the entire duration of America’s longest-running war, according to the report.

However, the company failed to perform effectively even after being paid such a huge sum of money. To quote Jacob Siegel from the Daily Beast:

“…performance and accountability seem to have been no obstacle to keeping the work and paychecks flowing from the government.”

Although DynCorp, being an armed security service, was primarily hired to strengthen the Afghan aviation and law enforcement forces, it also provided bodyguards for the (now) interim President Hamid Karzai.

Given the grim situation of law and order in Afghanistan, it’s quite apparent that the American military contractor failed to perform according to the amount it received to solve these issues.

For example, among other operations, DynCorp dealt with training and equipping the counternarcotics forces. However, opium production in Afghanistannot onlyincreased but reached record highs.

But these are not the only controversies associated with the defense company. Following is a list of other major scandals DynCorp was found involved in:

The Plan Colombia Herbicide Toxins Controversy:

American Military

Plane sprays herbicides over the jungles of Colombia – Wikimedia Commons

In 1998 and 1999, DynCorp was hired for a U.S. program “Plan Colombia” to end the armed conflict and fight against the influential drug lords in the Latin American country.

But the military powerhouse came under fire after farmers claimed that they were exposed to toxins spread through an aerial herbicide spraying operation, near the Colombia-Ecuador border, as part of the American aid initiative.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against DynCorp in 2001 by more than 2,000 plaintiffs. The court didn’t come up with a decision for over ten years and finally on February 15, 2013, the case was dismissed. The claimants are preparing to appeal the dismissal.

The Bosnian Scandal:

In the late 1990s, two former DynCorp employees, Ben Johnston and Kathryn Bolkovac, independently alleged that the military company’s mercenaries were engaged in sex with minors, and sold them to each other as slaves.

Johnston claimed he “witnessed coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased”.

Although Bolkovac was unfairly dismissed for blowing the whistle, she successfully filed a lawsuit in Great Britain against the company and won.

She later coauthored a book with Cari Lynn titled The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors And One Woman's Fight For Justice on which a movie titled “The Whistleblower” was released in 2010, starring actresses Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave.


American Military

Despite its underage prostitution ring in Bosnia, and accusations of human rights violations, DynCorp landed a multi-million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq.

In 2007, a Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s (SIGIR) investigation found the scandal-hit contractor guilty of misconduct on a job to train and equip the Iraqi police since the war began in 2003.

According to BBC:

“A $1.2bn (£590m) contract for training Iraqi police was so badly managed that auditors do not know how the money was spent, the US state department says.”

In February 2007, DynCorp was accused of wasting millions on projects, including building an unapproved, Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The same year in October, a security guard of the defense firm killed a taxi driver when a DynCorp convoy rolled past a knot of traffic on an exit ramp in Baghdad.

According to several witnesses, the vehicle did not pose a threat to the security of the convoy.