Hi, this is Brian Wiklendt. I’m lead counsel with Garfinkel Schwartz with a civilian contractor update Afghanistan 2018. We’re a Defense Base Act law firm in Maitland, Florida.
And it’s really nice to be in Winter Park because there’s so many places like this restaurant that are like little places from all areas of the world. And it’s a very international type city that we have here in Orlando.
We Represent People All Across the World
I just wanted to explain that although we have offices in Florida, we represent people all across the world and all across the country that need the Defense Base Act. And I travel weekly almost to get to different places to see Defense Base clients.
I was in Chicago last week and I was to be in North Carolina this week. I’ll be in Washington, D.C., in a few weeks for a trial or maybe it will be a settlement. But I travel to you wherever you are.
A Civilian Contractor Update 2018
What I’d like to do is get you this information which is very serious about Afghanistan. And I don’t want to get anything wrong. So I’m going to be quoting from different sources that we use to help our overseas contractors figure out what they need to do in case they become part of a dangerous situation or they come into harm’s way.
My number one piece of advice would be if you don’t contact me contact someone that is a specialist in the Defense Base Act if you are injured or something happens to you and you have to come back home and seek treatment.
A lot of times companies are not going to tell you what your rights are especially if you’re not a U.S. citizen so that’s the number one thing.
But right now I’m just going to try to explain what’s going on in Afghanistan and what’s going on for 2018.
I’ve done these updates these year-end updates across the world for the benefit of the overseas contractors since 2015 and this is my 2017 update for 2018.
Afghanistan pretty much since October of 2017 entered its 16th year of war. We’ve been there for 16 years. That’s a long time.
As of December 21, 2017, the Pentagon released a look at the numbers of military actions that have been taken in Afghanistan.
Bloomberg News actually reported and I quote from Bloomberg Today that from June 1st thru November 24, 2017, personnel from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan conducted 2,175 ground operations which enabled or advised Afghanistan’s own commander of forces according to the Pentagon’s biannual status report to Congress.
As a reminder as to how the United States got involved in Afghanistan, the Taliban would not turn over Osama Bin Laden in 2011–I’m sorry in 2001. Bin Laden was finally killed by U.S. forces Special Forces in 2011. However the United States helped Afghan military forces due to ongoing ISIS concerns, Taliban concerns, Al Qaeda and other terrorist threats in the country for the last seven years.
As of December 19th, which is two two three days ago there were 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, which is almost double the number of troops that there were in 2016.
According to a story in the New York Times in early December, Afghanistan’s conflicts continue to escalate and its security is severely at risk.
According to the Global Conflict Tracker–which we like to use–there were higher casualties for Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) service members in 2017 in the first six months of 2017 than there were in the entire 2016.
We’d like to reiterate there are civilian contracts contractors, that based on the knowledge we’ve gathered over the years with them and my clients, it’s safe to say there’s close to a four-to-one ratio generally in the number of overseas contractors vs. military troops.
So if we have 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan you’re looking at possibly three to four times that number of overseas contractors who are supporting our efforts there.
We know from talking with our clients there’s a very high demand for our civilian contractors around the world and to go overseas and to go to high-risk danger zones like Afghanistan.
We hope you never get injured but if you are and you’re traveling to one of these dangerous zones you need to be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.
You need to follow a process if you’re physically or mentally harmed to determine what treatment you need and whether the insurance company and the company that you’re working for is going to pay for it.
You need to know how to seek treatment and what options are available to you. Like I said before, a lot of times they don’t tell you what your options are and you’re stuck on your own.
Overseas Contractor Not Military
Because you’re an overseas contractor and not military, you won’t be screened, you won’t be pre-screened. You’ll get a plane flight and you’ll come home and you’ll have no instruction as to what you’re supposed to do.
That’s why if you don’t call me, call another DBA attorney.
Call Garfinkel Schwartz to get more information under the Defense Base Act law. Talk with an attorney to find out your rights are. And make sure that you exert those rights right away.
Please stay safe. Get prepared for the New Year. And I wish you good luck in all of your endeavors. And I thank you very much. Brian Wiklendt again signing out from Winter Park Florida. And I’m here 24 hours a day anytime.