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Afghanistan, Iraq Crime Increasing, According To New Report

Crime in Iraq, Afghanistan increasingA Marine in Iraq sent home $43,000 in stolen cash by hiding it in a footlocker among American flags. A soldier shipped thousands more concealed in a toy stuffed animal. An embassy employee tricked the State Department into wiring $240,000 into his foreign bank account.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the number of people indicted and convicted by the U.S. for bribery, theft and other reconstruction-related crimes in both countries is rapidly rising, according to two government reports released Sunday.

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U.S. tracks 'millions' of dollars stolen by Iraqi officials

US tracks millions stolen in IraqOut of the billions of dollars in cash that the U.S. shipped to Iraq during the war, "hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars . . . was stolen by senior Iraqi officials for their own personal gain," the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction tells CNBC.

In a new audit report, the inspector tracked a subset of the total amount — $6.6 billion in funds that the New York Federal Reserve made available to the Iraqi government during the war.

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Wartime Contracting Panel Seals Records for Next 20 Years

Established by Congress to investigate and expose government waste, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to not reveal its volumes of materials to the public for another two decades.

After three years of work, the commission officially shut down last week, having concluded that the U.S. misspent between $31 billion and $60 billion in contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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State Department’s Iraq police training program a 'bottomless pit' for US taxpayers

Iraq police trainingA key piece of America’s enduring presence in Iraq — a multimillion-dollar program to train police forces — could become a “bottomless pit” for taxpayer funding if officials fail to adequately assess the needs of Iraqi security forces and obtain assurances from Iraqi officials about the program’s future, according to a new federal watchdog report.

Since 2003, the United States has spent about $8 billion to train, staff and equip Iraqi police forces. With the U.S. military preparing to leave Iraq at the end of December, responsibility for the police training program transferred to the State Department this month. The department has requested $887 million to continue operating the program this fiscal year.

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Soldiers May Be Leaving Iraq, But Contractors Will Remain

Contractors stay in IraqAmerican troops may be leaving Iraq before the end of the year, but U.S. contractors aren’t going anywhere soon.

ABC News reports that the State Department “is expected to have about 5,000 security contractors in Iraq as of January 2012 (they already have about 3,000 in country).” There will also be 4,500 “general life support” contractors to provide food and medical services.

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Killing warning missed in slayings of Afghan civilians

Stryker BrigadeJoint Base Lewis-McChord’s operations center was hindered by high turnover and inconsistent training when it missed an early warning that could have tipped off the Army about a series of murders allegedly committed by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, according to an Army investigation obtained by The News Tribune.

Lt. Col. Charles Roede’s report primarily faults the noncommissioned officer who failed to act on a phone call he received Feb. 14, 2010, describing plots to kill Afghan civilians.

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Arms trade to repressive regimes largely from US, Russia and Europe

military weaponsArms shipments to repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa were largely from the United States, Russian and Europe, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International, in an assessment of arms transfers, referred to a "stark failure" of arms exports controls across the board. The rights group said that, before the Arab Spring, the United States, Russian and several European countries supplied huge quantities of weapons to repressive regimes in the region.

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