Monday, November 12, 2007

Private security companies hire warlords says study

From Reuters:

KABUL (Nov 12) - Private security contractors in Afghanistan add to the sense of insecurity, are often confused with foreign troops, employ former militiamen and may have links to crime, said an independent Swiss study published on Monday.

... some ordinary Afghans interviewed for the study by the Swisspeace think-tank complained some security contractors behaved in a "cowboy-like" way and did not treat Afghans with respect.

The presence of so many armed men, often from different groups operating in close vicinity to one another, added to residents' sense of insecurity, the study found.

"Many Afghans are not quite able to distinguish the private security sector from the international armed forces, from their own Afghan National Police and Afghan army and general confusion prevails," Schmeidl told a news conference in Kabul.

Security companies often hire former Afghan militiamen either as individuals or, in some cases, en masse along with their local warlord commander, the study said.

... Afghans perceived private security companies to be involved in crime and the robbing of several Kabul banks -- thought to be 'inside jobs' -- prompted President Hamid Karzai to try to speed up legislation for the sector which has long languished in parliament. ... (link)
The report, by Swisspeace, is available here (pdf).

"US-led" troops kill civilians amid Taliban
KABUL, Nov 12 (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition forces killed around 15 militants, but also a woman and two children, during an operation in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said in a statement on Monday. (link)
The incident occurred in Helmand province, next door to Kandahar province. In the main, NATO's ISAF mission in Helmand is run by the British, as Canada runs the operation in Kandahar. However, non-NATO troops from Operation Enduring Freedom, including special forces units, are known to rove into the province. Their sidekicks could be Polish, Canadian, Australian, etc.

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