Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Ken McGonigle, British former policeman shot dead in Afghanistan

A British former policeman has been shot dead in Afghanistan after an insurgent prisoner escaped a prayer room in an army base, grabbed a weapon and opened fire.

Ken McGonigle, 51, from Co Londonderry, was working for a security company training Afghan policemen when he was killed alongside two United States Marines.

The prisoner escaped from a prayer room on Saturday night and got hold of an AK-47 assault rifle at a base in the northern Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

Mr McGonigle’s father said his son had been the killer’s first victim and the two marines had later been killed. The prisoner was then shot dead himself.

“Kenneth was the first man he saw – he opened up and Kenneth hit the ground,” Joe McGonigle said.

A statement for Nato-led forces in Afghanistan said: “The prisoner escaped a room where he was observing prayer time, acquired a rifle and subsequently engaged Afghan and coalition forces.

“The Marines were killed while trying to subdue the prisoner. The prisoner was later shot and killed by small-arms fire. The incident remains under investigation.” Mr McGonigle’s wife, Gail, and the couple’s children, Ruth, Dale, Alex and Jimmy, were being comforted at their home in Magheramason.

He had been training Afghan police for the past three months working with the New Century security company and was due to return home at the start of September.

His father added: “Our hearts are broken. It is an awful thing to happen but there’s nothing we could do about it.

“He wanted to be out there, he loved it.”

He said: “He was very well-liked, he was a fella that if you met him once, you would want to meet him again, and everyone was treated the same. He was very popular here in the neighbourhood, at school and everywhere else.”

New Century which is headed by Tim Collins, the former British Army officer best known for his rallying speech to troops about to invade Iraq, described Mr McGonicle’s death as a “tragic, but isolated incident” and said it was under investigation.

A company statement added: “His presence and contribution will be sorely missed by everyone in the company and at the Nato training mission.

“Ken was a highly professional, deeply competent, well-admired and thoroughly committed colleague who made a material difference through his work.” Musa Qala held a British garrison until it was handed over to the American marines earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Kabul said: “A British national who was working as a police mentor for the US contractor, New Century Consulting, was tragically shot and killed by an escaped insurgent.

“Two US marines were also killed in the incident.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Casualties, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Expands Its Footprint At Bagram Air Force Base

Jason Linkins Huff Post

Sometime around the spring of 2011, lawmakers will begin to ramp up a debate on whether or not the United States should begin withdrawing forces from Afghanistan according to the “conditions-based” timetable established by the announced July 2011 “deadline” — a term I am using with as much flexibility as I can muster. But over in Afghanistan, the debate may be largely settled.

Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman is at Bagram Air Force Base today for the first time since 2008, and he sees the base expanding and hardening into something very permanent. The base is packed with planes of all stripes and the base’s main road has become a “two-lane parking lot of Humvees, flamboyant cargo big-rigs from Pakistan known as jingle trucks, yellow DHL shipping vans, contractor vehicles and mud-caked flatbeds.” There are hangars going up, cranes everywhere, and cement is “being manufactured right inside Bagram’s walls” by a Turkish contractor. Ackerman captures the change thusly:

I haven’t been able to learn yet how much it all cost, but Bagram is starting to feel like a dynamic exurb before the housing bubble burst. There was actually a traffic jam this afternoon on the southern side of the base, owing to construction-imposed bottlenecks, something I didn’t think possible in late summer 2008.

And here’s your population-centered counterinsurgency update:

Troops here told me of shepherd boys scowling their way around Bagram’s outskirts, slingshotting off the occasional rock in hopes of braining an American. Again, something else I wouldn’t have believed two years ago.

Ackerman’s bottom line: “Anyone who thinks the United States is really going to withdraw from Afghanistan in July 2011 needs to come to this giant air base an hour away from Kabul.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Security firm Aegis creates Swiss holding

GENEVA  Bloomberg

Aegis, one of the world’s biggest private security contractors, has set up a Swiss holding company that effectively moves the British firm’s headquarters to the Alpine nation, a Swiss newspaper reported Monday.

London-based Aegis Defence Services Ltd., which operates in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, is now wholly owned by a shell company in the northwestern city of Basel, local daily Basler Zeitung reported.

A public relations company acting on behalf of Aegis declined to immediately comment on the report.

Citing confidential documents, Basler Zeitung reported that Aegis’ seven owners — including founders Tim Spicer, Mark Bullough, Jeffrey Day and Dominic Armstrong — have swapped their shares for stakes in the Basel-based holding company.

The three remaining shareholders in Aegis are James Ellery, one-time head of the U.N. mission in southern Sudan, retired British diplomat John Birch and former U.K. army chief Peter Inge, according to the newspaper.

Founded in 2002, Aegis was awarded one of the biggest U.S. security contracts in Iraq — valued at more than $430 million.

In 2005, some Aegis employees posted videos on the Internet showing company guards firing automatic weapons at civilians from the back of a moving security vehicle.

Aegis claimed the shootings were legal and within rules established by the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority. U.S. Army auditors, in their own investigation, agreed with Aegis

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Aegis, Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , | 1 Comment

Mahram Ali, Aid Worker, Executed in Afghanistan

Mahram Ali, 50: Wardak, Afghanistan

Ali worked as a watchman at the National Organisation for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation’s (NOOR) maintenance workshop, a position he had held since 2007, the mission said.

“He stayed behind guarding the vehicles in Nawa when the rest of the team walked over the pass into Nuristan.”

He is survived by his wife and three young children.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 2 Comments

Jawed, Aid Worker, Executed in Afghanistan

Jawed, 24: Panjshir, Afghanistan

Jawed was a cook at the Ministry of Public Health’s Eye Hospital in Kabul, and had been released in order to attend the Eye Camp as the team’s cook.

He also assisted with dispensing eyeglasses, the IAM said. He is survived by his wife and three young children.

“Jawed had been on several eye camps into Nuristan in the past, and was well loved for his sense of humor,” the organization said.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 1 Comment

Dan Terry, Aid Worker, Executed in Afghanistan

Dan Terry, 63: Wisconsin, United States

Terry came to Afghanistan in 1971, the IAM said, and “had a heart for the rural areas of Afghanistan.”

He worked for many years in the Lal-wa Sarjangal district of the country.

“Dan specialized in relating to local communities and liaising with aid organizations and the government to improve services in remote areas,” IAM said.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters and one granddaughter.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 3 Comments

Bryan Carderelli, Freelance Videographer, Executed in Afghanistan

Brian Carderelli, 25: Pennsylvania, United States

Carderelli was a professional freelance videographer who worked with a number of Afghan development and humanitarian organizations throughout the nation, the IAM said. “Brian quickly fell in love with the Afghan people and culture and hoped to stay within the country for another year.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 4 Comments

Daniela Beyer Executed in Afghanistan

Daniela Beyer, 35: Chemnitz, Germany

Beyer was a linguist and translator in German, English and Russian who also spoke Dari and was learning Pashto, the IAM said.

She worked for the organization between 2007 and 2009 doing linguistic research and joined the eye camp so she could translate for women patients.

She is survived by her parents and three siblings.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | 1 Comment