Watchdog alerts troops in Afghanistan to new IED dangers

Marines carry a colleague wounded by an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. Marines carry a colleague wounded by an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. Kevin Frayer/AP file photo

A watchdog has warned U.S. troops and commanders in Afghanistan of a heightened threat of attacks using improvised explosive devices as a result of inaccurate inspection reports by Afghan contractors.

In an Oct. 10 safety alert sent to top Marine generals James Mattis and John Allen, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko warned of a threat to U.S. forces from the lack of culvert denial systems on a major highway in Afghanistan. The systems, designed to prevent access to roadways by insurgents seeking to plant IEDs, are being installed and inspected by local contractors.

But after finding “potentially significant contract fraud” during an investigation, SIGAR estimated that “a large number of culvert denial systems might have been falsely reported as complete by Afghan contractors when, in fact, the denial systems were not installed or were installed improperly, rendering them ineffective and susceptible to compromise by insurgents seeking to emplace IEDs.”

The findings on one major highway could mean similar threats on roads around the country, Sopko wrote. SIGAR employees have briefed U.S. commanders in the capital city of Kabul and requested widespread dissemination of the alert.

“The case is an outstanding example of the benefits of cooperation between the military and SIGAR and may result in the saving of lives,” Sopko wrote.

Asked whether specific U.S. contractors may be involved in supervising the Afghans, Philip LaVelle, SIGAR’s director of public affairs, declined comment, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.