Kabul may oust security firms
THE Afghan government has accused several prominent private security companies, including some that work with the US government, of committing ”major offences” – a move that US officials fear could hasten their departure.
A list compiled by Afghan officials cites 16 companies, including several US and British firms, for unspecified serious violations and seven others for having links to high-ranking Afghan officials.
A decision to ban the major violators would affect companies that provide about 800 guards for the US Agency for International Development and about 3000 who work on military construction projects.
”We’re wringing our hands over this,” said a senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity. ”We’re waiting to hear which companies will get disbandment notices and when they will have to disband.”
Among those listed as major offenders are Triple Canopy, based in Virginia, Washington-based Blue Hackle, and British company G4S, the parent company of ArmorGroup North America, which provides security for the US embassy in Kabul.
Also listed are British companies Global Strategies Group, which guards Kabul airport, as well as Control Risks and Aegis.
The list included nine companies deemed ”medium” offenders, 11 with ”minor” offences and nine, including Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, with no offences detected.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has yet to approve the list or indicate whether these companies face expulsion. A senior Afghan official said no decision had been made, and suggested many companies were on the list for tax evasion.
A NATO official said G4S owed the Afghan government $US8 million in taxes. The company declined to comment.
For the past six months, Mr Karzai has sought to push out the companies and replace them with government guards. US officials believed they had reached a compromise in December that would protect key operations and give the companies more time before they would have to depart.
”We thought it was pretty much on ice. All of a sudden, it isn’t any more,” the senior US official said. USAID has put several new programs on hold while it waits for a resolution to the issue.
No comments yet.