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US wasted billions in Iraq and Afghanistan, says report

Reuters/Jim Young

The US wasted tens of billions of dollars on wartime contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a government report published on Thursday. The Commission on Wartime Contracting blames poor planning, lack of supervision and corruption for the waste of US resources.

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Since 2002, the US has paid nearly 200 billion dollars (145 billion euros) to contractors supporting its military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The commission does not give an exact estimate of how much of that total was wasted, but its report says the figure is in the "tens of billions". One estimate cited puts the cost of fraud alone at 12 billion dollars (8.7 billion euros).

Among the commission's recommendations for reducing the misuse of funds are closer supervision of contractors, reducing the use of contractors for security missions, and increasing competition between contractors to lower prices.

The US government currently employs around 200,000 contractor employees in Iraq and Afghanistan - almost the same as the number of American soldiers deployed there.

Contractors handle services such as guarding US bases, escorting convoys, interpreting and catering.

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