Terrorism

Seven security companies dissolved in Afghanistan

Usman Sharifi
Wednesday, 16-March-2011

 

KABUL – Seven private security companies operating in Afghanistan are being dissolved, the country's interior ministry announced Tuesday, while dozens more face closure.

Private security companies help guard everything from Western embassies and international military convoys to non-governmental organizations and media companies in war-torn Afghanistan.

The announcement is the latest effort by President Hamid Karzai, who charges that they slow down the development of Afghanistan's own security forces, to clamp down on them. He also accuses them of breaking the law.

The ministry also listed a further 45 companies that can continue their operations for another year but would then be replaced by an Afghan government public protection force able to provide comparable security measures.

It indicated that embassies would still be able to employ private security firms after the 12 months were up. But after that period, the public protection force would be responsible for guarding military convoys.

"Based on our commitment to transparency and the rule of law, the private security companies have been informed that they have been dissolved because of their connection to officials of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The companies being dissolved include Watan Risk Management, NCL, SSSI and LSG, the statement said.

In August, Karzai ordered the disbandment of all private security firms, national and international, within four months, but later said licensed firms could continue operations.

Under that compromise, security firms with development company contracts, as well as those that work for NATO, foreign embassies and the United Nations were allowed to operate until their contracts expire.

Critics of the move to outlaw security firms say Afghanistan lacks the capacity to provide sufficient across-the-board security for itself.

Afghanistan's police and army are due to take control of security in the war-torn country in some more peaceful areas from July and across the nation by 2014.

The latest announcement threatens to further strain relations between Kabul and its Western backers which have been particularly tense recently over the issue of civilian deaths in international military operations.

A US congressional report earlier this month found that the number of private security personnel working for the US military in Afghanistan rose to 18,919 at the end of last year, the highest level used in any conflict by the United States.

It added that the figure had more than tripled since June 2009. Around 95 percent of those working for private security firms in Afghanistan were Afghans, it added.


Courtesy: AFP

 

 


 



    

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