November 7, 2007
Image: Jezebel, via AP
The mess with security companies in Afghanistan is equal to the confusion and chaos within US-NATO forces. The Afghan warlords and the US government appear to have a few qualities in common - including secrecy.
The Working Group, presents a report to the UN General Assembly in New York today. Relief Web says: "Though heavily armed, the "private security guards" the companies employ are neither civilians nor combatants, the Group notes. They represent a new form of mercenarism, similar to "irregular combatants", itself an unclear concept, the Group adds. The Working Group warns that States that employ these services may be responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the personnel of such companies."
Following is some available information about the security companies in Afghanistan: Aegis, Armorgroup, Blackwater, Dyncorp, Gardaworld, Global Strategies, Khawar, Olive, Mallat, Olympus, Paul Grimes, Saladin, SOC-SMG, SIG, USPI, Watan and Caps.
Afghanistan National Security Forces
31.01.07. Training National Police. • The United States has been working in partnership with Germany in training the Afghan National Police. Germany is training senior police leadership at the Kabul police academy. The U.S. is providing basic training courses at a central training facility in Kabul and seven Regional Training Centers in other provinces.
Security firms challenge state authority
12.04.07. akmal Dawi, e-Ariana. Only in two years, 2004 to 2006, 59 private security companies were registered by Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA). Hiring people from different parts of the underdeveloped world these non-state security firms have installed hundreds of armed men in Kabul majority of who do not know much about socio-cultural complexities in Afghanistan. … According to Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior (MoI), there is no specific law or a formal code of conduct to regulate the activities of these profit-making security providers that undertake different services to their Afghan and international clients in the country.
SECURITY FOR SALE
02.05.07. Fariba Nawa, Corpwatch. Nearly every big contractor in Afghanistan hires a security firm to protect its employees, offices, guesthouses, and equipment. There are also the foreign security firms that focus on Afghan police and military training. Security makes up another huge sector of foreign business in Afghanistan. The American embassy in Kabul spends up to 25 percent of its budget on security. … FEAR IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS; BEDFELLOWS WITH WARLORDS; DYNCORP: THE COWBOYS; Armed & untrained; DYNCORP AND DRUGS
Private companies in Afghanistan threaten to leave unless security improves
25.09.07. afghanan.net. Some government and private companies have urged the government to reinforce security for their staffers at project sites. They warned that if the government is not able to reinforce security they will stop work and leave the country. Afghan economists said however that the presence of private companies was highly important for the country's rehabilitation and economy. Draft Government Policy on Private Security Companies (11.10.07. AP / NBC).
Draft GoA rules for private security contractors
Afghanistan Watch. Associated Press obtained a draft of the policy being discussed by the Government of Afghanistan on security contractors. The document must receive approval from the Cabinet before entering into effect. It notes that "the GOA (government of Afghanistan) has allowed for limited PSC operations and activities. However, increasingly, the absence of targeted regulation ... in parallel with unstable security environment has generated an unfortunate and nearly anarchical PSC market with a long series of security problems and criminal activities
Afghans Cracking Down on Security Firms
12.10.07. AP. Echoing a growing problem in Iraq, Afghan authorities are cracking down on lucrative but largely unregulated security firms, some of which are suspected of murder. … Dozens of security companies also operate in Afghanistan, some of them well-known U.S. firms such as Blackwater and Dyncorp, but also many others that may not be known even to Afghan government. Watan and Caps to be closed, and … more companies — "maybe 13, maybe 14" — will be closed next week, including some whose employees may have committed murder or robberies, he [Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal] said.
UN report describes new mercenary activity
17.10.07. IHT. In Peru, the [UN] panel heard that hundreds of Peruvians had been recruited and trained by private security companies to work in Iraq and Afghanistan as security guards and that at least 1,000 remained in Iraq.
DOD official orders head count of private security guards
19.10.07. fcw.com. John Young, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has launched a comprehensive head count of private security contractors working for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congress wants answers over $1bn war zone fees
23.10.07. MacAskill, Guardian. The chaotic relationship between the US government and private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan was today highlighted by a Congressional investigation into where more than $1bn allocated for police training has gone.The report, published today, found the state department could not account for most of the $1.2bn (£600m) paid to DynCorp, the Virginia-based company that is the biggest recipient of state department funding. Previous investigations into the work of private contractors have highlighted lack of oversight, waste and alleged corruption. DynCorp won the contract on February 2004 to provide housing, food, security, facilities and staff for police training.
Use of Contractors by State Department Has Soared
24.10.07. J. Broder, NY Times / Truthout. Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, administration officials said Tuesday, but they said that the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts. … After the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan, contracts grew again, eventually bringing the company Dyncorp $400 million a year. The law enforcement office had DynCorp dispatch dozens, then hundreds, of police trainers to Afghanistan. The diplomatic security office had DynCorp send employees to guard the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Former State Department officials and Afghan officials said the DynCorp guards were far too aggressive in their tactics, and their conduct alienated Afghan and European officials, as well as Afghan citizens. Gregory Lagana, a DynCorp spokesman, said the company agreed there was a problem and replaced the guards. "The demeanor, the swagger, was wrong," he said. "We put a stop to that." … American military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan said the quality of trainers was mixed as well. Jonathan Shiroma, a captain in the California National Guard who worked with DynCorp trainers in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, said some were "outstanding," while others preferred to remain on base. DynCorp and Blackwater, meanwhile, continue to win contracts.
Rice Says 'Hole’ in U.S. Law Shields Contractors in Iraq
25.10.07. NY Times. [ and Afghanistan? ; see photo, top] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded on Thursday that there was a "hole" in United States law that had allowed Blackwater USA employees and other armed contractors in Iraq to escape legal jeopardy for crimes possibly committed there.
In an appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ms. Rice said the administration would support new laws that would apply to contractors but expressed reservations about proposals to bring contractors under the military justice system. She deferred a number of other questions about problems with the supervision of the thousands of private security guards in Iraq, saying she planned to meet with Robert M. Gates, the secretary of defense, to try to come up with new rules to avoid episodes like the shooting by Blackwater gunmen on Sept. 16 that Iraqi investigators have said left 17 Iraqis dead. "Obviously we need a better coordinated policy for all of them," she said. Blackwater, meanwhile, under continuing siege in the courts, the news media and Congress, stepped up its public relations efforts this week with a mass e-mail message to its employees, suppliers, fellow security contractors and political allies, asking them to flood Congress with messages of support.
Security contractors lose immunity in Iraq
25.10.07. news.com. THE Iraqi Government has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country. [ The Afghan government should do the same ]
US trains terrorists in Afghanistan
25.10.07. presstv.ir/ICH. Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-mohammadi says Washington has established centers in Afghanistan for training terrorists. Referring to Taliban-style recruiting camps used to spread insurgency, Mostafa Pour-mohammadi said the Americans, during the past years, have set up centers in Afghanistan to train and dispatch terrorists to other countries. There are comprehensive evidences proving that the United States is sending terrorists to Iran, Afghanistan and many other countries, said Pour-mohammadi adding that the second US-supported center has been set up in Iraq.
U.S. Military to Supervise Iraq Security Convoys
30.10.07. NY Times. [ and Afghanistan?]
Private Military Contractors also Creating Problems in Afghanistan
30.10.07. Carl Robichaud, Afghanistan Watch. After the Sept. 16 Blackwater scandal, which drew unprecedented attention to the role played by private security contractors (PSCs) in Iraq, these firms have increasingly come under scrutiny in other theaters of war, such as Afghanistan. But while efforts in Afghanistan to rein in PSCs seem to parallel those in Iraq, they are driven by different dynamics -- and have very different implications.
Crime-buster in an Armani suit takes on private armies of Kabul
31.10.06. ANTHONY LOYD, timesonline. [ very informative article]. A ride out with the Afghan flying squad on its mission to shut down rogue security firms. 'It was a flying squad bust – Afghan style. General Paktiawal sped down Kabul’s mean streets at the head of a column of his gun-toting detectives. …
Yet resplendent in a silver-grey Armani suit, slicked-back hair and bling ring, the man in charge looked more Miami Vice than the Sweeney. Even General Paktiawal’s choice of weapon, the Walther PPK clutched in his hand, denoted a certain refined style. It was, after all, James Bond’s second-favourite pistol. No slouch at self-publicity, the CID chief had called up a couple of Afghan television cameramen to accompany him on the raid. Screeching to a halt in a narrow alleyway at the capital’s outskirts, General Paktiawal burst through the gates of a compound and quickly oversaw the first arrest, spinning the prisoner around to the wall with a hefty clout about the head. "Where are the others? Where are the weapons?"
[See Times right hand column of this article, entitled: "Kabul CID slide show."]
10,000 Estimated number of private security guards in Kabul
59 Private security companies fully registered with the Government
3,600 Employed in Afghanistan by USPI, the firm with the biggest US Government contract
1,200, stationed in Afghanistan by the British company Armour Group UK
£750 Top rate paid to a private security guard for a day’s work
Sources: Afghan National Police; Security Management Magazine; US Department of Defense; www.reliefweb.int
Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. J. Boone, ©FT / NBC. Efforts to clean up the private security industry in Afghanistan have become mired in corruption and have caused severe operational problems for contractors charged with guarding embassies and international staff, security companies claim. Eight companies have been closed and Ali Shah Paktiawal, director of criminal investigations for Kabul's police, said he had more in his sights. … Mr Paktiawal told the FT that operational secrecy meant he was unable to explain why the eight mostly Afghan-owned companies closed down in the last three weeks were selected.
Private security companies engaging in new forms of mercenary activity, says UN Working Group
06.11.07. Relief Web. The Working Group, which will present the report to the UN General Assembly in New York on 7 November 2007, says there has been a significant increase in the number of private security companies operating in conflict-ridden areas, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though heavily armed, the "private security guards" the companies employ are neither civilians nor combatants, the Group notes. They represent a new form of mercenarism, similar to "irregular combatants", itself an unclear concept, the Group adds. The Working Group warns that States that employ these services may be responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the personnel of such companies. Such violations are furthermore attributable to those States if the private military and private security companies are empowered to exercise elements of governmental authority or are acting under governmental direction or control. … FULL REPORT AVAILABLE AT/ RAPPORT DISPONIBLE SUR: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/GA/62documents.htm
AEGIS DEFENCE SERVICES (UK)
The site is useless: no 'search’ facility; no special section on Afghanistan; Aegis is not "transparent," nor is it 'user-friendly.’
ARMOR GROUP (UK)
10 pages of PR information, including:
Armorgroup’s Anjuman Base, Afghanistan
On April 2 (2007) it was announced that ArmorGroup North America, a McLean, Virginia-based subsidiary of UK-based ArmorGroup International, had been awarded the contract to provide guard services at the US Embassy in Kabul. The contract, worth up to $189 million, will run for up to five years from early this month. … The announcement means that the firm is now one of the biggest armed-guard providers in Afghanistan, alongside big US contractors such as DynCorp International Inc and Blackwater USA. … ArmorGroup has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002, supporting commercial, governmental and non-governmental-organization clients. In the bid process, ArmorGroup beat the current holders of the contract, Global Security Inc, while US competitors Herndon, Triple Canopy and DynCorp were also thought to have applied. .. Roughly one-third of ArmorGroup's direct revenue comes from the British and US governments. … In fact, in terms of growth, Afghanistan has been far more lucrative for ArmorGroup than Iraq.
Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. J. Boone, ©FT / NBC. … ArmorGroup, the UK-based company that runs security for both the US and UK embassies in Kabul, said there had been several incidents where staff, while guarding clients, have had their weapons removed at checkpoints by Afghan police who thought their licences had lapsed. The company said they have received assurances that their licences have been extended. However, they appear to be out of date because AmorGroup has been unable to get new certificates issued.
ArmorGroup To Broaden Afghan Training Operations
06.11.07. defensenews. One of the biggest private military firms working in Afghanistan plans to expand its operations and infrastructure here so it can offer training and security accreditation to Afghan guards, and eventually to Afghan government personnel. … ArmorGroup has spent $4 million to build a fairly comprehensive infrastructure across the country at several locations, with Anjuman Base being its main facility. Anjuman can accommodate 300 visitors and has a 24-hour operations center, a medical clinic, gymnasium, training classrooms, off-road driving track and a close-quarter battle training house. It was the first commercial security base built in Afghanistan, company officials said. … Plans include the construction of a firing range and more housing for clients. Hornett said additional training facilities are also planned, including the construction of a mock police station, cells and checkpoints.
The joyride of Blackwater 61
09.10.07. Afghanistan Watch, the Century Foundation. Includes Der Spiegel cockpit voice recorder transcript (06.10.07) of pilots discussion in deadly joyride abroad Flight Blackwater 61, which crashed – killing all but Harley Miller, who "froze to death before the search teams could find him."
AFGHANISTAN: Blackwater Broke Rules, Report Says
05.10.05. Washington Post / corpwatch. … A private contracting firm flying in Afghanistan for the U.S. military was in violation of numerous government regulations and contract requirements when one of its planes crashed into a mountainside in November 2004, killing all six on board, according to an Army report made public yesterday.The four contracting firms named as defendants -- Aviation Worldwide Services LLC, Presidential Airways Inc., STI Aviation Inc. and Air Quest Inc. -- are all Florida-based subsidiaries of the Prince Group. … The Army's Collateral Investigation Board report on the accident was released months ago with many of the findings blacked out. .. It (Presidential Airways) added that the Army report "was concluded in only two weeks and contains numerous errors, misstatements, and unfounded assumptions."
Blackwater Loses Bid to Reject Wrongful Death Suit in Afghan Plane Crash
11.10.07. Democracy Now. [Two years later] Blackwater has claimed the lawsuit should be dismissed, but last week three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected that argument. Transcript.
VIDEO: Congress on Blackwater: part 1; Afghanistan Helicopter crash
Afghanistan Shuts Down 2 Security Firms
11.10.07. 10 Other Private Contractors Targeted; Some Suspected Of Murder, Robbery … Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. Embassy convoy in Baghdad are accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in a shooting on Sept. 16, an incident that enraged the Iraqi government, which is demanding millions in compensation for the victims and removal of Blackwater in six months.
Air Force Officers vs Blackwater
(no date) Two U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonels are facing an Article 32 investigation this week after being charged with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer. … The charges were filed as a result of reports related to a roadside run in with a Blackwater employee in Afghanistan back in the fall of 2006. The facts of the case are disputed and the two officers are facing charges that could result in a court-martial.
Blackwater Won't Allow Arrests
17.10.07. Sharon Behn -Washington Times / ICH. A defiant Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince said yesterday he will not allow Iraqi [ and presumably Afghan ] authorities to arrest his contractors and try them in Iraq's faulty justice system.
Chairman Waxman Seeks Further Information on Blackwater Contracts from Rice, Gates and Blackwater CEO
19.10.07. yubanet.com. letter to Gates: On March 31, 2007, I requested from the Department documents relating to all incidents involving private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. On September 11, 2007, I renewed the Committee's request for documents on this particular incident and also requested a briefing. To date, the Committee has received no information from the Defense Department relating to this incident.
Blackwater Wanted Iraqi Military Planes
20.10.07. AP. Blackwater USA tried to take at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq two years ago and refused to give the planes back when Iraqi officials sought to reclaim them, according to a congressional committee investigating the private security contractor. [ Where are these planes now? ]
Waxman: Blackwater Violated Tax Laws
22.10.07. Guardian. By classifying its armed guards and other personnel as independent contractors instead of employees, Blackwater has apparently evaded withholding and paying these taxes,'' Waxman, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Blackwater chief Erik Prince. … Two other companies that provide similar services in Iraq and Afghanistan - DynCorp International and Triple Canopy - classify their workers as company employees.
Congress wants answers over $1bn war zone fees
23.10.07. MacAskill, Guardian. The chaotic relationship between the US government and private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan was today highlighted by a Congressional investigation into where more than $1bn allocated for police training has gone.The report, published today, found the state department could not account for most of the $1.2bn (£600m) paid to DynCorp, the Virginia-based company that is the biggest recipient of state department funding. Previous investigations into the work of private contractors have highlighted lack of oversight, waste and alleged corruption. >u>DynCorp won the contract on February 2004 to provide housing, food, security, facilities and staff for police training.
The business of war gets a friendlier face
29.10.07. P. York, Guardian. Blackwater, the notorious private security company deployed alongside US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, recently softened its logo. The old pawprint looked like something from a computer game, or film - like a Terminator or Robocop bear. The new pawprint has been softened. The logo has also dropped the vertical rifle-scope crosshairs, so it doesn't immediately say, "We shoot the nasty bear for you."
CONTROL RISKS Group (UK)
Elvin Hensley of DynCorp walks through
an opium poppy field in April 2006
Photo John Moore, Getty Image
Excellent details on Dyncorp at Corpwatch.
AFGHANISTAN: Dyncorp Guards Chastised by U.S. State Department
11.10.04. BBC / Corpwatch. US State Department's Richard Boucher said the issue was raised with DynCorp, the company that supplied the guards. There have been several reported cases of apparently over-zealous and insensitive conduct on the part of Mr Karzai's private security contractors. A BBC correspondent recently saw one of the guards slap an Afghan minister.
Afghanistan deal could net DynCorp over $2.1B
24.12.06. pameladrew.newsvine. What the article fails to mention is the billions in herbicide contracts given to Monsanto and the Agent Orange gang to soak these countries with toxins. .. "After nearly a decade of experience eradicating illicit-drug crops in Colombia for the State Department, DynCorp has won a new contract that could earn the company more than $2.1 billion over the next 10 years and will include operations in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of opium.
The world of private 'security': Unleashed: the fat cats of war
26.10.07. Kim Sengupta, Independent. "DynCorp International also trained Afghan President Hamid Karzai's security guards. The company was also hired [along with Blackwater] to assist with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. It has been involved in "Plan Colombia" and is training Afghan forces in opium poppy eradication.
Private Military Contractors also Creating Problems in Afghanistan
30.10.07. Carl Robichaud, Afghanistan Watch.
In Afghanistan, problems with security contractors are hardly new. Their actions have attracted little media attention in the West but have sometimes outraged Afghans, as when, during the October 2004 Presidential campaign, one of President Karzai's DynCorps bodyguards slapped Afghanistan's minister of transport in the face. The action, a serious insult in Afghan culture, became for many Afghans as a symbol of foreign imperiousness.
Garda has 1,800 workers in war zones
15.05. Private security in iraq, afghanistan. Two big acquisitions in last 2 years land Montreal firm in Baghdad's Green Zone. The Montreal-based Garda plunged into the personal security business in a big way two years ago with its $67.25-million acquisition of Vance International Inc., one of the largest private-security operations in the world. It followed that with the purchase last December of Kroll Security International, based in London. KSI is a leading risk-management company in the region.
GLOBAL STRATEGIES GROUP (UK)
Formerly Global Risk Strategies.
Where We Work: Afghanistan
Kim Sengupta writes: "Global calls itself a "political and security risk management company". It was founded in 1988 by former Marine Damien Perl and Charlie Andrews, a former Scots Guards officer. In Iraq they employ many Fijians discharged from UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, who are paid considerably less than their western counterparts. … The company boasts 93 field-based operational and logistical experts (plus staff) in Kabul and teams in all eight regions of Afghanistan identifying and assessing potential voter registration sites for a forthcoming election. They are active in: Colombia, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and China."
The Kabul Government turned its sights on the companies this year when guards from Khawar, the largest Afghan security company, beat up the Attorney-General in a road-rage incident north of the capital. Khawar’s boss, General Jurat, a former warlord and a big supplier of personnel to USPI, quickly found his business closed down while police investigations began on others of the city’s security companies. See also Afghanistan attorney general says army general assaulted him (Jurist 08.06.07)
OLIVE GROUP (UK)
There is no 'search’ button. Not transparent enough.
Kim Sengupta and Charlie Gilmour write:"Olive operates in more than 30 countries. As well as providing security services, it engages in post-conflict reconstruction and aid work, including de-mining and ordinance disposal. Founded in 2001, the company employs around 600 people worldwide, although it also sub-contracts to local organisations. Its actions are monitored by an ethics committee, which has the right to veto any project, and the company supports a number of charitable organisations. Its senior team has worked with UK special forces, the Prime Minister's office and leading technology companies and investment banks. Olive Group also offers security training to corporations, government and security personnel."
MELLAT INTERNATIONAL SECURITY.
The target of the raid was a private security company protecting a Nato logistics yard. And there was more than just the question of an expired licence for Mellat International Security. As the general’s men spread out through the compound, arresting 19 of the company’s uniformed guards, they uncovered an arsenal of weapons as well as Afghan army uniforms, electric probes, truncheons and handcuffs. The company might have been hired to safeguard building materials and kit supplies, but its own equipment suggested that its operatives were more a private militia than mere security guards.
OLYMPUS SECURITY LTD. (UK)
"OSG operatives have been deployed to Afghanistan."
Afghan police raid British-based security company, 8th to be closed in crackdown
29.10.07. IHT. Afghan police on Monday raided and shut down a British-based security company in Kabul, the eighth such firm to be closed this month in a crackdown to reign in the chaotic industry... Police arrested three Afghan guards and the Afghan director of Olympus Security Group for operating without a license. … Paktiawal has said previously that 12 or 13 security companies would be targeted in the closures. Olympus, which has only a small presence in Kabul, is the first foreign security company to be shut down following the closures of seven Afghan security firms. A woman who answered the phone at the company's headquarters in Gloucestershire said no one was immediately available to speak about the company's Afghan operations. .. About 60 security companies are registered with the government, but two dozen others are thought to be in existence.
US soldier's family brings legal action against British private security firm
30.10.07. S. Goldenberg, Guardian. · Authorities close down UK contractors in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, the authorities stepped up their crackdown on private security contractors yesterday, raiding the premises of a British-based firm, Olympus, in Kabul. It was the eighth private security firm to be raided and closed in a month, but the first foreign firm. ..
Govt shuts down US firm
15.10.07. TWO American citizens involved in a paramilitary security company who wanted to recruit about 4 000 Namibians to work in Iraq and Afghanistan to guard US military bases were deported over the weekend after Government shut down their newly established business… "Paul Grimes, Country Representative of SOC-SMG, and Frederic Piry, Chief of Operations of SOC-SMG (see below) , have been declared prohibited immigrants and served with deportation orders on Friday, 12 October 2007," the Minister announced.
Namibia Deports US Security Employees
17.10.07. AP. Nandi-Ndaitwah said two American employees of the firm — Paul Grimes, the firm's country representative and Fredric Piry, the chief of operations — were to be "immediately removed" from the country. … Local media quoted Grimes as saying the company had the blessing of the country's labor and safety and security ministries. "We are looking for noncombatant security guards to guard dining facilities, gyms, military base hospitals in Iraq," Grimes was quoted as saying in one newspaper.
Hired gunmen protect VIPs
22.10.07. Canada's diplomats in Kabul and visiting high-value targets like Prime Minister Stephen Harper are protected by a group of heavily armed gunmen hired by Saladin Security, a British firm with a long history of secretive and clandestine operations. Department of Foreign Affairs officials in Ottawa are tight-lipped about the deal struck with Saladin, whose gun-toting employees provide perimeter security, operate checkpoints, serve as bodyguards and form a heavily armed rapid-reaction force designed to move quickly to thwart an attempted kidnapping and rescue survivors of suicide attacks or car-bombings in Kabul. … Saladin, which operates worldwide, has not been publicly implicated in any of the alleged excesses or crimes attributed to private security firms in Afghanistan.
See also: Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group
In a story about security employees in Namibia (17.10.07. AP.): According to SOC-SMG's Web site, the firm's clients include the U.S. departments of defense, state and energy, as well as the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines and Naval special forces. The company had aimed to recruit at least 3,000 Namibians to work in Iraq and Afghanistan through a local employment agency, with promised salaries of $1,000 a month, local newspapers reported. It is not clear whether anyone had been recruited yet.
SPECIAL INTERVENTION GROUP (SIG): NORWAY
No mention is made about Afghanistan in the summary in "Welcome." However, the following story has now appeared.
05.11.07. aftenposten.no. A television documentary claims that a Norwegian security company trains staff to torture and cites a report accusing the firm of executions. On the Monday edition of Dokument 2 images from the Norwegian managed security company Special Intervention Group's (SIG) extreme training course will be shown. The company is led by two Norwegians and provides training for Norwegians, Swedes and Danes to become bodyguards in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, newspaper Dagbladet reports. … The police report claims to have confirmed information that SIG has carried out liquidation assignments in Afghanistan for the American government, but the company rejects the accusation as "nonsense".
Very long newsletter (pdf) available on site.
U.S. Protection and Investigations is the most visible security company in the cities and on the roads of Afghanistan. USPI is a mom-and-pop firm from Texas founded in 1987 by Barbara Spier, a former safety inspector for a restaurant chain, and her husband Del, a private investigator specializing in insurance fraud and workman's compensation cases. The firm has contracts with United Nations, private contractors and foreign government agencies in Afghanistan. Its main selling point is price: It can underbid its competitors largely because it spends so little on hiring qualified guards. .. The company was criticized last year when a British engineer it was guarding was captured and nearly decapitated by rebels claiming to be Taliban. In a another case, an American USPI supervisor shot and killed his Afghan interpreter, Noor Ahmed, after an argument ("self-defense" – the usual excuse). … The International Crisis Group, an NGO dedicated to resolving conflict, has criticized USPI for employing former militias and allowing them to use their position to carry out illegal activities, including drug trafficking. USPI hired by Louis Berger Group.
Further details here
USPI United States
"USPI employs 3,600 people in Afghanistan and holds the largest US government contract there. Based in Texas, the company was founded by Del and Barbara Spier in 1987. Earlier this month it was accused of over-billing the US government by millions of dollars for non-existent employees and vehicles, a claim it denied. In a 2005 report on disarmament in Afghanistan, the Belgian International Crisis Group said the majority of men on USPI's payroll were associated with private militias. USPI's headquarters in Kandahar has been hit by a suicide bomb and another suicide bomber targeting a convoy being escorted by USPI personnel killed 15 people and injured 26."
Kajaki Dam, Afghanistan [Picture: PO (Phot) Sean Clee]
Crime-buster in an Armani suit takes on private armies of Kabul
31.10.07. ANTHONY LOYD, timesonline. A ride out with the Afghan flying squad on its mission to shut down rogue security firms. Foreign companies under investigation include the Texas-based US Protection and Investigation (USPI), responsible for protecting the Kajaki dam in Helmand, where British troops are operating to clear the Taleban from the huge hydroelectric reconstruction project. Kabul CID have already arrested two of the company’s local staff, while in the United States the FBI is investigating USPI accounts after it came under suspicion of fraud.
WATAN AND CAPS
Afghans Cracking Down on Security Firms
12.10.07. AP. Watan and Caps to be closed, and … more companies — "maybe 13, maybe 14" — will be closed next week, including some whose employees may have committed murder or robberies, he [Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal] said.
Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. ©FT / NBC. Ahmad Ratib, head of Watan Risk Management, one of the first companies to be closed down, has complained of "bias" in the decision to shut his company.
Witan Risk Management", set up in 2005 by two Afghan-American brothers and a British former SBS service-man, had its armoury of Kalashnikovs seized by police two weeks ago, despite all of its documentation being in order. It is now in danger of losing key foreign clients and believes that the move against it was designed by competitors in the Ministry of Interior to seize its business for themselves.
Iraq: Security Companies and Training Camps . S. Meyer, Index Research (17.05.06)
Security Company Death Squads Timeline . S. Meyer, Index Research (25.09.07)
Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the UK
The url to Security Companies in Afghanistan is: http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2007/11/security-companies-in-afghanistan.html
The smaller url is: http://tinyurl.com/2v26mq