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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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