Real Numbers of “Troops” in Afghanistan

I’m waiting for Obama’s announcement of the new policy of troop levels in Afghanistan to become old news by about Monday, but while it’s still the weekend, let’s consider further exactly how many people we’ve got in that country smaller than Texas.

From a Congressional Research Service report:

DOD relies extensively upon contractors to support overseas contingency operations. As of March 2011, DOD had more contractor personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq (155,000) than uniformed personnel (145,000). Contractors made up 52% of DOD’s workforce in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to DOD, in Afghanistan, as of March 2011, there were 90,339 DOD contractor personnel, compared to approximately 99,800 uniformed personnel. Contractors made up 48% of DOD’s workforce in Afghanistan at that time.

14 thoughts on “Real Numbers of “Troops” in Afghanistan”

  1. The State Department, USAID, and USACE also have contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan along with their security.

  2. J Harlan,

    You have it exactly right. John Glaser is being very disingenuous or ignorant when he cites the total DOD contractor personnel as an estimate of "how many people we’ve got in that country". If you click on the link, it makes clear on page 10 that only 20% of contractors in Afghanistan are U.S. citizens. On p.17, it says 29% of contractors in Iraq are U.S. citizens. John Glaser, did you even bother to skim the report?

    1. 29 percent — that's still some 26,000 more Americans, added to the 100,000 regular military personnel that we know about. that's 26k too many. we should be honest, there are 120,000 americans occupying afghanistan today and when the so-called withdrawal plan is complete in 2014 there will be 90k still there, occupying the country. i believe this was glaser's point. and a point well taken

  3. Indeed I did. Reading my post again though, it's clear I didn't say "US citizens." Contractors are there on behalf of US policy, performing duties as part of the war effort, broadly defined. We can be sure the Afghans don't make such distinctions, as all are part of the occupation. So unless both of us are misinformed and the report is inaccurate, the post is neither disingenuous or ignorant.

    1. John Glaser,

      The phrase you used is how many people "we've got in that country". Most people would define "people we've got" as meaning Americans. If you meant how many people we are paying for, why didn't you just say that? It would have only taken a couple of more words. You also say, "We can be sure the Afghans don't make such distinctions, as all are part of the occupation." Given that the majority of these contractors are Afghans, how can you say that the Afghans don't make such distinctions. Afghans don't make distinctions between Afghans and Americans? You also refer to our prescence in Afghanistan as an "occupation". I am strongly against our prescence there because of the costs to the United States but sadly the polling is clear that most Afghans (unlike most Iraqis) don't want us to leave. The fundamental problem here is that the Afghan people have become addicted to our welfare spending (which funds most of their government budget) and our military which does the most of the hard work of fighting the Taliban. is there any polling that you have seen that indicates that the Afghans want us to leave?

    Staged US/UK Withdrawal; A Negotiated Solution


    What we know is that the majority of people in Afghanistan (73%) want an end to the airstrikes that have may have killed thousands of Afghan civilians. We know that a majority of Afghans (55%) want a rapid (though not immediate) withdrawal of US-led forces.

    We also know that the majority of Afghans (73%) want a negotiated end to the conflict, and are willing to accept the creation of a coalition government including the Taliban leadership.

    These are the results of a poll commissioned by the BBC, ABC News (USA) and ARD (Germany), in which 1,691 Afghan adults were interviewed in all of the country’s 34 provinces between 29 October and 13 November 2010.

    End Quote

  5. John Glaser,

    I posted a reply to your reply. I just came back to check to see if you had replied and see that my reply (which had been originally posted) has been deleted. What is going here? Are you this dishonest?

    1. If it was deleted it was without my knowledge or control. I apologize and will look into it.

  6. The gun-men are Peruvians and Ugandans, If what I read is correct. The people cooking up Army chow and washing the dishes are Filipinos and Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis.

  7. RK1,

    If it was deleted, it was without my knowledge or control. I apologize and will look into it.

  8. war = overseas contingency operation
    army = workforce
    mercenary = contractor personnel

    What were we talking about, again?

  9. Years ago the DOD lost some of my records as did the Pentagon. They sent me a letter stating that all my records had been accessed and that If I wanted the remaining records safeguarded I would have to pay a fee. Around a month later I got a letter and a series of e-mails from Blackwater. I couldn't believe the money they were offering me to be "security" Wow out of this world.

    After what I saw, while deployed I am now an anti-war vet all the way. 5/21, 2/75, 7th SFG

    Most of the contractors are just that, contractors. They are not even armed. They are paid very little while the companies rake in big bucks.

    I remember the contract they sent me, it basically already had my information written in. Including all the requirements. Including MOS and things like that. I guess you have to have so many years in service (it could be as a cop) and a full knowledge of various weapons.

Comments are closed.