Some foreign contractors who provided logistical support for the United States’ prolonged war in Afghanistan found themselves trapped in an endless stopover in Dubai, unable to return home.
After nearly two decades of rapid development U.S. withdrawal The lives of thousands of private security contractors from Afghanistan have upended the lives of some of the world’s poorest countries—not hired guns, but hired workers for the American war. Over the years, they have worked hard in the shadows as cleaners, cooks, construction workers, waiters and technicians in the huge American base.
During the hurried evacuation process, many foreign workers were struggling in hotels across Dubai as they tried to return to the Philippines and other countries where international travel was restricted due to the pandemic.
As the United States takes the remaining military home and abandons its bases, experts say that the chaotic departure of the Pentagon’s logistics forces has revealed the disturbing truth about a privatization system that has long been susceptible to mismanagement — a system mainly composed of Funded by U.S. taxpayers, but not within the jurisdiction of the United States. law.
Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the center, said: “The same situation will affect foreign contractors around the world who know very little about their whereabouts and their relationship after arrival is very uncertain. To determine their legal status and actions.” Washington’s PhD in Strategy and International Studies told the Associated Press.
“The terms of the contract in the war can indeed exempt the employer from the main responsibility… and even the right of return may be uncertain.”
Trapped in Mövenpick
Although it is not clear how many people are still trapped abroad after the evacuation, the Associated Press reporter saw that at least a dozen Filipino contractors of the engineering and construction company Fluor were trapped in the Movenpick Hotel in Bur Dubai. An old neighborhood creek in the city-states along Dubai.
The hotel’s management declined to comment, saying that “for privacy reasons, it has no right to disclose the presence and information of any hotel guests, nor does it have the right to disclose the details of the hotel’s corporate partners.”
The U.S. military’s Central Command declined to comment on private security contractors and instead referred all issues to their companies. The U.S. Military Contract Office and the Philippine Consulate in Dubai did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the stranded Filipino contractors.
According to the latest data from the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, as of early June, there were still 2,491 foreign contract workers remaining in US bases across Afghanistan, down from 6,399 in April.
As the United States will officially end its military mission at the end of the month, most of these workers have returned home on flights arranged by their employers. These private military giants have won multi-billion-dollar Pentagon logistics contracts during the years of the war in Afghanistan. .
However, other employees were not so lucky when they were first taken to Dubai on their way home after leaving suddenly on June 15. Fearing the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka suspended flights to the United Arab Emirates in mid-May and updated travel bans several times.
Thus began a seemingly endless stopover, which some Filipino workers described to the Associated Press as a kind of anxiety and endless boredom. The contractor declined to be named, citing their precarious situation.
Attracted to Afghanistan by the promise of stable employment and wages much higher than the Philippines, some stranded Fluor contractors have worked for many years in construction, equipment transportation, visa processing, and other military logistics.
Some people work at Bagram Air Force Base, the country’s largest military base, and Kandahar Airport in southern Afghanistan. They have nothing to do with combat operations, but describe the risk of rocket attacks and other warfare at the base.
Those who spoke with Midland said they knew that there were more contractors from the Philippines and other countries, including Nepal, stranded in Dubai, but could not provide more specific information.
As their cash gradually dwindled during the two-month stay, most people said they could only wait. They spend their time watching TV and video calls with their Filipino family members in the hotel. Fluor provides meals at the hotel every day.
The Texas-based construction giant Fluor, Afghanistan’s largest defense contractor, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the Associated Press. Federal records show that since 2015, the Ministry of Defense has spent $3.8 billion on Fluor’s work in Afghanistan, most of which is used for logistics services.
Since the evacuation process of war contractors is little known, it is becoming more and more obvious that the Pentagon’s long-term invisible foreign fleet may still be the case.
Human Rights Watch Asia Propaganda Department Director John Sifton (John Sifton) stated that “everyone is very concerned about the US military, as well as Afghans, interpreters and others” and they may face retaliatory killings by the resurrected Taliban.
“Regarding the stranded foreign workers, the Biden administration can say, well, their company and their government should move them back home.”