Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Warlords, Inc./How Do You Handle 70,000 Unemployed Afghan PSC? Very Carefully

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  November 13, 2012

David Isenberg is the author of the book Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq and blogs at The PMSC Observer. He is a senior analyst at Wikistrat and a Navy veteran.

While it’s only one among many factors bedeviling Afghanistan, its substantial private-security contracting industry warrants attention. It’s made up of tens of thousands of Afghan employees, mostly armed guards.

Bear in mind that 2014 is the deadline for Afghanistan assuming responsibility for its own security. This is a date the whole world has an interest in because either Afghanistan will be a more or less stable country — or it will lapse back into the chaotic and destabilized state it was after the Soviets left in 1989.

We all recall how that turned out.

The Afghan government and the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are transferring private security company (PSC) operations to the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), a new Afghan government force.

But substantial uncertainty, to put it politely, and skepticism — to put it more bluntly – persists over APPF’s ability to handle the job. Even more importantly, how it plans to absorb the commanders and former fighters who currently provide the bulk of PSC workforces.

Please read the entire article here

November 13, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security Fears Lead Groups to Rethink Work in Afghanistan

The New York Times  March 11, 2012

WASHINGTON — The management at a company that does aid and development work for the American government knows that some of its employees in Afghanistan are keeping weapons in their rooms — and is choosing to look the other way. At another company in the same business, lawyers are examining whether the company can sue the United States Agency for International Development for material breach of contract, citing the deteriorating security in Afghanistan

An Afghan government plan to abolish private security companies at the end of this month, along with the outbreak of anti-American demonstrations and attacks in the past month, has left the private groups that carry out most of the American-financed development work in Afghanistan scrambling to sort out their operations, imperiling billions of dollars in projects, officials say.

That, in turn, threatens a vital part of the Obama administration’s plans for Afghanistan, which envision a continuing development mission after the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014.

Please see the original and read more here

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. aid agency prepares switch to Afghan security

Reuters US

The main U.S. foreign aid agency is preparing to switch from private security contractors in Afghanistan to Afghan government-provided security this month under a new policy mandated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, raising concern in Washington that this could put U.S. civilians at greater risk.

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah says the agency may be able to negotiate waivers from the policy for some major infrastructure projects so that they could continue to have access to private security.

But U.S. AID officials also said this week that only 25 percent of U.S.-funded development projects in Afghanistan require security guards, suggesting the changeover to Afghan government-provided security this month that Karzai has ordered may not be so dramatic.

“Seventy-five percent of our assistance portfolio does not require private security contractors today. So a lot of our partners, and a lot of the way we are doing business is not affected by this at all,” Alex Thier, Shah’s assistant for Afghanistan and Pakistan programs, said in an interview.

Private security contractors working for foreign companies, who have numbered in the thousands, are no longer allowed on aid and development programs after March 20 under Karzai’s decree. If these programs want armed escorts or guards for their compounds, they are supposed to contract with a branch of the Afghan police, the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF).

Karzai has long been critical of private contractors and other “parallel institutions” in Afghanistan and wants them under the control of the Afghan government.

Yet it’s far from clear that the Afghan Public Protection force can provide the same level of security.

Please see the original and read more here

March 9, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, USAID | , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan Public Protection Force Signs First Contracts

Defpro News   March 8, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan | The Afghan Public Protection Force signed its first contracts for security service today with three companies, marking an important milestone in the ongoing transition from Private Security Companies to the APPF.

The Minister of Interior, Bismullah Khan Mohammedi, presided over the ceremony and thanked APPF leadership, the NATO International Security Assistance Force, and the U.S. Agency for International Development for their support in executing the transition to APPF-led security services.

“From this day on, the responsibility for security services will transition from private security companies to the APPF, one after the other,” said Minister Mohammedi.

APPF Deputy Minister Jemal Abdul Naser Sidiqi signed three contracts with International Relief and Development (IRD), one with Louis Berger – Black and Veatch, and another with AFGS. IRD and Louis Berger – Black and Veatch are both USAID implementing partners performing development projects around Afghanistan.

“We welcome this security transition as a natural step for Afghanistan,” said Bill Haight, representing the Louis Berger – Black and Veatch joint venture.

In August 2010, President Hamid Karzai ordered private security companies to be disbanded, and the APPF was identified to take over security responsibility from these companies. The APPF is focusing now on taking over security responsibility for development projects, convoys and commercial businesses. By March 2013, all security for ISAF bases and construction sites is scheduled to transition to the APPF

March 8, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, USAID | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractors see risk in getting security from Afghans

New York Times  February 25, 2012

The order requires that as of March 20, the new Afghan Personal Protection Force, which is under control of the Afghan government, replace all private security contractors for development projects, convoys and commercial businesses in Afghanistan

The order does not require that as of March there be no more American private security contractors in Afghanistan. (Under a waiver, the Afghan Personal Protection Force will not replace private security contractors at NATO and American military bases in Afghanistan until March 20, 2013.)

Federal Times  February 23, 2012

Starting March 20, U.S. contractors doing reconstruction work in Afghanistan will be required to get their security services from a new Afghan government agency.

But contractors are complaining the Afghan agency is charging them excessively high fees for security and putting U.S. contractors at risk by refusing to abide by required federal contracting practices.

As a result, doing business with the new security organization — called the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) — could force contractors to violate U.S. contracting rules and thus become vulnerable to federal suspension and debarment.

Please see the original and read more here

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan Cracks Down on Contractors

By Ernesto Londoño, The Washington Post  December 29, 2011

Rodrigo Abd/AP - Afghan officials have seized millions of dollars worth of armored vehicles and weapons from private security firms in recent weeks, a move that has exacerbated concerns about the government’s plan to replace the hired guns with an unprepared state-run guard force.

KABUL — Afghan officials have seized millions of dollars worth of armored vehicles and weapons from private security firms in recent weeks, a move that has exacerbated concerns about the government’s plan to replace the hired guns that protect convoys and installations with an unprepared state-run guard force.

The crackdown is being carried out even though the Afghan Public Protection Force failed to meet any of the six benchmarks that were set out for it when President Hamid Karzai formally announced a plan to ban private security firms by March 20. An assessment team led by the NATO military coalition, which is heavily involved in the creation of the Afghan force, concluded in the fall that the guard force is far from ready to take over.

Diplomats, development experts and company executives worry that the abolition of private security contractors within three months could endanger Afghans and foreigners supporting NATO and its allies, halt reconstruction projects and open new channels for corruption.

The transition is happening at a critical time in the Afghanistan war. As U.S. and allied troops have begun to draw down, there are concerns about how Afghan troops will manage increased security responsibilities. The United Nations recorded an average of 1,995 attacks during the first 11 months of this year, a 21 percent increase compared with the same period last year

Please read the entire article here

 

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Seven security companies dissolved in Afghanistan

AFP March 15, 2011

KABUL (AFP) – 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 organisations 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.

In addition to the seven, the ministry also listed a further 45 companies that can continue their operations for another year but will then have their functions replaced by an Afghan government public protection force.

Its statement 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.

Please read the entire story here

March 22, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Contractor Corruption, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment