December 16th, 2009
12:06 PM ET

Around the Web: More private contractors headed to Afghanistan, study says

 Justin Elliot of Talking Points Memo, citing a study by the Congressional Research Service, reports that private contractors will likely play a significant role in the Afghanistan in the near future.

“As President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan unfolds, the number of contractors will likely jump by between 16,000 and 56,000, adding up to a total of 120,000-160,000, according to an updated study from the Congressional Research Service,” Elliott writes.  

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post writes up the study as well, noting that the increased role of private contractors is creating some problems for the Defense Department.

“As the Pentagon contracts out activities that previously were carried out by troops in wartime, it has been forced to struggle with new management challenges,” he writes.”

“The Pentagon's Joint Contracting Command in Afghanistan has increased the size of its acquisition workforce and is adding staff to monitor performance. To enhance oversight, Congress has appropriated $8 million for an electronic system that will track all contract-related information for Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Matthew Rosenberg of the Wall Street Journal reports on Pakistani resistance to American pressure to “widen the scope of an offensive against the Taliban.”

“For the past two months, Pakistan's military has been driving against the Pakistan Taliban - an offshoot of the Afghan movement - in the tribal area of South Waziristan, in what U.S. officials describe as a welcome campaign,” Rosenberg writes.  

“Afghan Taliban havens in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas and southwestern province of Baluchistan haven't been attacked.”

However, McClatchy’s Saeed Shah reports that some officials in Pakistan’s military command favor sending troops into the North Waziristan. “Due to resistance from the core army, however, any operation there could be half-hearted,” Shah writes.

Some other reports and perspectives:

- Los Angeles Times: A map of attacks in Pakistan

- Jane Perlez and Salman Massood (New York Times): “Court examines Pakistan leader’s offshore riches

- Maureen Dowd (New York Times): “Doubts about certitude

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