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PARIS (AFP) – The US commander in Afghanistan said Friday that the military is wasting money by employing too many private contractors to do jobs better done by soldiers or local Afghans.
"We have created in ourselves a dependency on contractors that is greater than it ought to be," General Stanley McChrystal told an audience of French officers and military experts at France's defence university in Paris.
"I think we've gone too far. I think that the use of contractors was done with good intentions so that we could limit the number of military. I think in some cases we thought it would save money. I think it doesn't save money."
The US operation in Afghanistan employs more civilian contractors than soldiers, carrying out jobs ranging from catering and logistics to -- more controversially -- armed escort duties and intelligence gathering.
According to a US Congressional report, citing figures from US Central Command, in September last year there were 104,100 Department of Defense contractors assigned to Afghanistan compared to only 63,950 troops.