Portside - President Barack Obama announced last month that he plans to further delay the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, leaving at least 8,400 forces in the country after January instead of honoring his most recent pledge to cut numbers to 5,500.
But now, a new report compiled by the Congressional Research Service, which produces reports for members of Congress, reveals that the number of U.S. service members in Afghanistan is dwarfed by the nearly 29,000 Department of Defense private contractors in the country, outnumbering American troops three to one.
“As of March 2016, there were approximately 28,600 DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan, compared to 8,730 U.S. troops,” states the report, authored by Heidi Peters, Moshe Schwartz and Lawrence Kapp.
Such private contractors comprise 77 percent of the total DOD presence in Afghanistan, the authors conclude.
According to the report, which examines the federal years 2007 to 2016, there have been more private contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the middle of 2011. But that gap has continued to grow, with a staggering 117,000 contractors and 88,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.