The family of a California soldier killed in Afghanistan has sued a military contractor for rehiring an Afghan national as a security guard after he allegedly threatened to attack U.S. troops and eventually killed two service members and wounded four others. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims Tundra Strategies failed to document threats made by Shir Ahmed and failed to tell U.S. military officials about the danger he posed before the March 2011 attack at Forward Operating Base Frontenac. Tundra Strategies, based in Ontario, Canada, was hired in November 2009 by the U.S. government to screen and monitor private security guards at nine military installations.
The shooting was a factor in improved screening of Afghan nationals hired to provide security for U.S. and coalition forces. Among those killed was medic Rudy Acosta, 19, of Santa Clarita, Calif., whose family filed the lawsuit along with three survivors. Tundra failed to adhere to basic duties in dealing with Ahmed, who was first hired by the company in May 2010. It appears he was fired two months later after being accused of threatening to kill U.S. and coalition troops. But, in a bizarre move, the firm rehired Ahmed in early 2011, despite concerns by a Tundra manager. Within days of being rehired, Ahmed opened fire on U.S. troops using an AK47 assault rifle furnished by Tundra.
Security companies that hire Afghans are required to vet an applicant by checking their identities, work history and other personal information, as well as conducting checks with police and taking fingerprints and iris scans. Contractors also have to report individuals who turn out to be security risks. After the shooting, U.S. military officials beefed up the process by doing random checks of private security companies, but they have warned the added safeguards won’t eliminate the problem.
Michael Doyle, the lawyer who represents the Plaintiffs in the case, said the lawsuit was filed to hold military contractors accountable for their role during wartime. He is absolutely correct when he says that “if there aren’t any consequences, it’s a continuing danger to the troops and that’s not acceptable.” This case, which should be successful, will be watched with great interest by the American people.
Source: Associated Press
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