A US official identified as Michael Furlong organized a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the purpose of finding and killing suspected Islamic militants, The New York Times reported Monday.

Citing unnamed military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States, the newspaper said Furlong, who works for the Defense Department, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former CIA and Special Forces members.

These people gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected Islamic militants and the location of insurgent camps, the report said.

After that, the information was sent to military units and intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan for use in possible strikes, the paper said.

Some US officials said they were concerned that Furlong could be running an unofficial spy operation, adding they were not sure who condoned and supervised his work, The Times said.

The paper noted that it was generally considered illegal for the military to hire contractors to act as covert spies.

It was also possible that Furlong's network might have been improperly financed by diverting money from a program designed to gather information about the region, The Times said.

Read the full New York Times report here.