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The Killid Group
Karzai bows to security companies, say expertsWritten by Ahmad Zia Entezar and Mohammad Reza Gulkohi
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 13:26
The roll-back of the Presidential order for closing down all private security firms has left the Afghan government looking weak and incapable, say Afghan analysts. They suggest that the President reversed his stand under pressure of the international community.
A decision to reverse the earlier order to shut down all private security firms was taken on October 17 by the Council of Ministers. The order states that a few of the private security companies which ensure the security of diplomatic missions, international convoys and installations will officially receive the license to work.
This reverses the earlier decision of the Afghan government. Several weeks ago Afghan president Hamid Karzai had blamed and castigated private security companies for their activities and described these as a big threat for nationwide security. He also ordered the closure of all security companies. He even accused them of being involved in kidnapping, assassination and robbery.
"Private security companies destroy the security. They provide security during the day and become terrorists during the night .This issue is contrary to our national interests and the Afghan national police should replace them", he said.
At that time, some anticipated that this order would not be enforced. Killid's own investigations showed that many of the owners of the security companies were powerful men and that some of them ridiculed the President's order.
Order only on the paper
"When Afghan president Hamid Karzai issued his order to cancel all private security companies' functions, everyone knew president Karzai did not have enough power to cancel their functions", says Fazalurahman Uria, an Afghan political analyst.
Experts say it seems as if the order was issued without discussions with his foreign colleagues. "It would be better if the President took a decision in coordination with his foreign colleagues", says Noorull Haq Oloomi, an Afghan member of parliament (MP).
Another MP, Sultan Mohammad Owrang, feels the "Afghan president's recent order in canceling private security companies undoubtedly proves Afghan government's lack of independence."
Some of the political experts felt these private companies pave the way for insecurity and instability in the country. "In a country where the war is ongoing and insurgents are fighting with the government, these private security companies will surely add to the insecurity. For instance they sometimes may be misused by insurgents and armed and funded by them to fight against the government", says General Abdul Wahed Taqqat, a defence expert. The Killid Group's investigation shows that there are 26 foreign private security companies and 26 domestic ones with 46,000 armed men(40,000 of them Afghans), a potential source of threat to the power of the government.
Who will be allowed?
If the Afghan president's second order is implemented, a critical question would be how companies are to be selected for licensing. "If this order is implemented in order to weed out companies involved in illegal actions, it will not include Salarzai Company", says Abdul Rahim Salarzai the head of Salarzai Private Security Company.
Mr. Azizi, head of NCL private security company, felt President Karzai does not have enough power to cancel the licenses of these companies and someone would come from the United States to defend the right of NCL.
Government officials however claim the original plan to cancel licenses is on track. "The Afghan government is still committed to the Afghan President's previous decision to cancel private security companies", says Hakim Asher, Head of the Government Media and Information Center.