The failure to install a system to prevent insurgents from planting roadside bombs in hundreds of locations has led to the injuries and death of several American soldiers, according to a report released Tuesday by American investigators. The report pins the blame on an Afghan contractor and his subcontractor, who have been charged with negligent homicide and fraud by the Afghan government—and one of the men is in custody. It’s the first time Afghan contractors have been directly linked to American deaths. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the VFW in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday that U.S. troops are “close to the breaking point” after so many deployments.
"Citing the continuing investigation, neither the inspector general’s office nor American military or Afghan officials offered any details on the deaths that may have been caused.
But Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, called the investigation’s preliminary findings “disturbing.”
Mr. Casey, who has helped lead Congressional efforts to cut the supply of ammonium nitrate fertilizers often used by Afghan insurgents to make hidden bombs, said it was dismaying to see what amounted to “contract administration problems” undercut efforts to counter the threat of so-called improvised explosive devices.
The countermeasures include a troop-carrying vehicle introduced during the Iraq war and the development of hand-held radar devices for soldiers and Marines patrolling on foot.
It is “frustrating to see all of that innovation that was brought to bear on the problem,” he said, “and then something as simple as putting a grate over a culvert becomes a huge problem.”'
Not surprising that during the investigation, "incomplete or nonexistent" records to verify completed projects became a difficulty. The loss of field records — after-action write-ups, intelligence reports and other day-to-day accounts from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan — has has complicated efforts by soldiers to claim benefits, as well.