Entrepreneur who promoted US war in Afghanistan stuck in Dubai

Some of the foreign entrepreneurs who promoted the logistics of America’s “Eternal War” in Afghanistan found themselves left behind in endless connections in Dubai with no way to return home.

Almost 20 years later, the rapid withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan has turned the lives of thousands of private security contractors in the world’s poorest countries upside down – serving the American war effort, not mercenaries . Mercenary. For years, they fought in the shadows as cleaners, cooks, construction workers, waiters, and technicians on large American bases.

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Many of those foreign workers returning to the Philippines, who have rushed to evacuate, and other countries that have restricted their overseas travel due to a pandemic, are stranded in hotels in Dubai.

As the United States brings the rest of its troops home and abandons its base, experts say the chaotic departure of Pentagon logistics forces is unpleasant for a privatization system that has long been vulnerable to mismanagement. He says he’s revealing the truth. ..

“It’s the same situation that affects foreign entrepreneurs around the world, with little understanding of where they are going and determining their legal status and movement when they arrive. People with very uncertain relationships, ”said the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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“The terms of the contract in wartime can really exonerate the primary responsibility of the employer… even the right of return can be uncertain. “

Associate Press reporters, although the number of people stranded abroad after the evacuation is unknown, is a Filipino contractor for the engineering and construction company Flur at the Moevenpick hotel in Bur Dubai, an old city ​​district along Dubai. I saw at least 12 blocked sellers. Stream.

“For reasons of confidentiality, we do not have the authority to disclose the presence or information of hotel guests or the contact details of the hotel’s business partners,” declined to comment on hotel management.

The US Central Command declined to comment on the private security contractors and referred all questions to their company. The U.S. Military Contracts Office and the Philippine Consulate in Dubai did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Filipino subcontractors left behind.

As of early June, 2,491 foreign contract workers remained at US bases across Afghanistan, according to the latest figures from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Special Inspectors. It was down from 6,399 in April.

Most of these workers have returned on employer-organized flights as the United States will officially end its military mission at the end of the month. It is a private military giant that has won billions of dollars in logistics contracts from the Afghan Pentagon over many years of war. ..

However, the other employees who were first brought to Dubai on their way home after their sudden departure on June 15 were not so fortunate. The Philippines, along with Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, suspended flights to the United Arab Emirates in mid-May over fears of rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus and have repeatedly renewed their ban travel.

This is how the seemingly huge transit began, which some Filipino workers explained to AP as one of the relentless angst and boredom. The entrepreneurs cited the instability of their situation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some of Flur’s left-behind contractors, lured to Afghanistan by promises of stable jobs and much higher wages than in the Philippines, spent years building, transporting equipment, processing visas and other logistical aspects. .. Some have worked at Bagram Air Base, the country’s largest military installation, and Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan. They had nothing to do with combat operations, but explained that they still face the risk of rocket attacks and wars on other bases.

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People who spoke to AP said they knew contractors from other countries, including the Philippines and Nepal, were stranded in Dubai, but could not provide more specific information.

He said most people couldn’t afford to do anything other than wait as the money dwindled after a two-month transfer. They spend time watching TV and video calls with their Filipino family from the hotel where Flure serves daily meals.

Fluor, an Irving, Texas-based construction giant, Afghanistan’s largest defense contractor, did not respond to repeated requests from AP for comment. The Pentagon has spent $ 3.8 billion on Flur’s work in Afghanistan since 2015, most of which is spent on logistics services, according to federal records.

Little is known about the process of evacuating the War Contractors, so it is becoming increasingly clear that the Pentagon’s long-hidden foreign fleet can remain.

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“Everyone is focusing not only on the US military, but also on Afghans, interpreters and others who may be murdered by the Taliban resurrected for revenge,” said John Sifton, director of Asian defense to Human Rights Watch. There are. “For the foreign workers left behind, the Biden administration can say, well, their company and their government should have moved heaven and earth to get them home.”

About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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