Number of private contractors killed in Iraq and Afghanistan passes 1,000

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The U.S. Department of Labor has released data showing that more than 1,000 private military contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by Reuters.

The number is based on insurance claims filed on behalf of contractors that had been killed, and includes both U.S. and foreign contractors.

As of March 2007, an additional 10,569 contractors have been wounded in Iraq and 2,428 in Afghanistan.

There are disputes about the exact number of contractors in Iraq, but it is estimated to be between 130,000 and 180,000 U.S.-paid private military contractors, compared to 157,000 U.S. military personnel.

Despite beliefs that the contractors all belong to large military-oriented groups such as the British intelligence firm Aegis or Blackwater USA which has been labelled "mercenaries", the jobs of contractors killed have been as varied as electrical engineer Ronald Schulz, translator Kim Sun-il and truck driver Murat Yuce.