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.
Associated Press at MSN News Center May 24, 2012
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Danish shipper A.P. Moller-Maersk says armed guards have thwarted a pirate attack on one of its U.S.-flagged cargo ships in the Gulf of Oman.
The Copenhagen-headquartered company says “multiple pirate skiffs” headed toward the 488-feet (148-meter) long Maersk Texas on Wednesday, despite receiving “clear warning signals” from guards onboard.
The pirates opened fire on the ship, and guards returned fire, eventually forcing the pirates to abandon their attack.
No one was injured in the incident and the ship continued on its voyage to the U.S. No other details were immediately available Thursday.
Somali pirates have been increasing their range, but attacks around the vital oil lanes near the Strait of Hormuz remain relatively rare.
Finnish officials have rejected calls to place armed guards aboard Finnish cargo ships. Both the Foreign Ministry and police officials have turned down a proposal by the Finnish Shipowners’ Association to use soldiers or armed guards to protect ships in waters off the coast of Somalia. The International Maritime Organisation, the IMO, has urged owners to upgrade security in the face of the growing problem of piracy.
The IMO recently sent a letter to member states and other partners demanding improvements in security arrangements aboard ships at sea. According to the organization, the situation has significantly worsened this year and the warships sent by various countries to patrol the area have not had the impact on piracy that was hoped.
Insurers and private security firms have undertaken to solve the problem themselves. Currently in Britain, steps are underway to establish a private marine corps with its own warship and a force of 150 men. The international security giant G4S is offering owners the services of a special force of British ex-soldiers. According to the company, this special unit has had an average of 40 assignments a month over the past few years.
Finnish security companies are interested in similar operations, at least in theory, even though so far there have not been requests, according to Petri Miettinen of the security services provider Turvatiimi.