Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.
With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.
Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.
AGED ARSENAL Lt. Col. Amanuddin surveyed 42-year-old Chinese ammunition from AEY that arrived in crumbling boxes at his Afghan police post.
Efraim E. Diveroli David M. Packouz, 25, was AEY’s vice president. He is a licensed masseur.
Ammunition supplied by an American contractor to Afghan forces. Some of it was in such poor shape that it was not used. READ MORE
Train Goes Through Crowded Bangkok Street Market
The first time I saw It … I was walking through the market… I almost had a heart attack… My mind would not register that the train was not out of control and killing people!!
Later on …I would ride this same train pretty regularly… I was going to post some stills I took back then… But Then I found this video of the train ride itself… It’ll take me a few days to dig deep enough to find pictures of the reason for my riding that train… I don’t know what it’ll take for me to grow enough balls to post those pics… It’s my intention to remain a relatively happily married soul… But I will say this much… What was on the other end of that train ride brings a wicked evil grin to my face almost 20 years later!!!
Rice prices jumped 30 per cent to an all-time high on Thursday, raising fears of fresh outbreaks of social unrest across Asia where the grain is a staple food for more than 2.5bn people.
The increase came after Egypt, a leading exporter, imposed a formal ban on selling rice abroad to keep local prices down, and the Philippines announced plans for a major purchase of the grain in the international market to boost supplies. Global rice stocks are at their lowest since 1976.
While prices of wheat, corn and other agricultural commodities have surged since late 2006, the increase in rice prices only started in January.
The Egyptian export ban formalises a previously poorly enforced curb and follows similar restrictions imposed by Vietnam and India, the world’s second- and third-largest exporters. Cambodia, a small seller, also on Thursday announced an export ban.
These foreign sales restrictions have removed about a third of the rice traded in the international market.
“I have no idea how importing countries will get rice,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. He forecast that prices would rise further.
The Philippines, the world’s largest buyer of the grain, said on Thursday it wanted to purchase 500,000 tonnes after it failed to buy a similar amount earlier this month. It is struggling to import 1.8m-2.1m tonnes to cover a production shortfall and on Thursday confirmed it would tap emergency stocks maintained by Vietnam and Thailand.
Rice is also a staple in Africa, particularly for small countries such as Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Senegal that have already suffered social unrest because of high food prices.
Thai rice, a global benchmark, was quoted on Thursday at $760 a tonne, up about 30 per cent from the previous daily quote of about $580 a tonne, according to Reuters data. Some traders, however, said the daily jump was not as steep, adding that Thai rice had already traded at about $700 a tonne this week.
Rice prices have doubled since January, when the grain traded at about $380 a tonne, boosted by strong Asian, Middle Eastern and African demand.