October 22nd, 2010
10:50 AM ET

US concerned over Afghan ban of security contractors

Some U.S.-funded development organizations,
fearing a worst-case scenario as a result of the Afghan government's ban on private security guards, are beginning to implement contingency plans that could result in those organizations' pulling out of the country, U.S. officials
tell CNN.

The Afghan government decree set a December 17 deadline for unregistered companies to shut down.

"Promises are going to have to be broken, promises to leading, brave local officials in Afghanistan," said Steven O'Connor, the spokesman for a U.S.-based development organization.

One senior U.S. official, while noting that "no one is on planes headed for Dubai," added that aid organizations "are working with a worst-case scenario in mind."

The U.S. government and NATO officials are urgently talking to President Hamid Karzai and other officials about what they see as the potentially disastrous ramifications of the decision, several sources told CNN.

"We're not aware that any U.S.-funded projects have stopped operating, but without clarity our partners are making plans for the possibility they are unable to continue their work here," said Caitlin Hayden, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Kabul.

O'Connor said his organization, Development Alternatives Inc. of
Bethesda, Maryland, has already started to shut down 330 development projects in Afghanistan worth $21 million. The organization uses the security company Edinburgh International to protect its employees in the field. It is affected by the ban, even though it complies with all Afghan laws and is regulated,
O'Connor said.

Development Alternatives is the organization that Linda Norgrove worked for. The British citizen was kidnapped late last month and then was killed during a failed attempt to rescue her on October 8.

The organization's "Local Government and Community Development" projects operate in dangerous contested areas where Afghan government forces are fighting the Taliban. They include projects focused on building schools, roads,
clinics, canals and other work that local communities define as important.

"We have to put the wheels in motion now," O'Connor told CNN. "We can't just turn off the lights. We have to take measures in order to carry out an orderly shut-down."

Several United States and coalition officials have told CNN that
discussions with the Afghan government on how to resolve the matter are expected to take place in the next few days.

A senior Afghan official confirmed to CNN that the president does not intend to grant an exemption to the security contractor ban for development firms, even though it could mean development and aid organizations leaving Afghanistan.

U.S. officials feel shutting down development operations could have serious implications for the U.S. civilian strategy in Afghanistan and would affect not only U.S. organizations but also European and international groups such as the World Bank. "A lot depends on these organizations," the U.S.
official said, "and it is for the benefit of the Afghan people."

The NATO alliance would be extremely reluctant to extend its security umbrella to private development efforts, and it is not clear the Afghan government would allow that to happen, officials say.

Hayden emphasized the United States supports Karzai's decision to end permission for many private security contractors in Afghanistan. But she added, "As a matter of priority, we are working with the Afghan government and
international community to fully implement the decree. An area of specific focus is the protection of development implementing partners, recognizing their stated need for clarity in order to safely continue their operations."

The Karzai ban does grant exemptions to private security firms that guard the interior security perimeter of embassies; escort foreign diplomats and
protect diplomat residences; or protect international military bases and weapon storage facilities. It not yet clear what would happen to any private contractors that assist in moving military goods around the country.

Some groups could curtail their actions in Afghanistan, working only in Kabul where it is safer, but those that work across Afghanistan might pull out Western employees or leave the country altogether.

The projects that Development Alternatives is shutting down employ 800 Afghans and "scores" of international workers, O'Connor said. The Afghans will lose their jobs; it is not clear yet what will happen to the others. Some, O'Connor said, may be transferred to regional centers such as Dubai for further assignments

Development Alternatives' work in Afghanistan is too dangerous to
continue without security. Ten security guards have been killed in the past year in insurgent attacks and bombings while they protected the organization's employees, O'Connor said.

"The truth is we can't operate without them, they are vital," he said.
Right now the organization is doing some "hard thinking," he said, about how to protect its employees in Afghanistan.

The organization's projects are funded by the U.S. Agency for
International Development; Development Alternatives is the "implementing partner." The overall five-year program is worth a total of $350 million.

Since the decree was issued August 17, the U.S. State Department has been expressing its concern to the Afghan government that the ban should be implemented in a way that would keep essential operations going, U.S. officials
say.

"This was our message to the Afghan government from the beginning that it must be implemented effectively so it doesn't end up being counterproductive,"
another official said.

U.S. officials would not speak for attribution, citing diplomatic
sensitivity.

From the beginning there has been confusion about how the ban would be implemented, and 10 days ago, officials told CNN, the U.S. side sought "clarifying language" from the Afghan government. "But it wasn't clear enough," an official said.

In some cases, private security guards were disarmed on Afghan roads even before the ban went into effect. That, said the official, "got the agencies and implementing partners worried."

Some of the organizations have insurance concerns as well, because insurance companies are reluctant to issue policies to anyone without adequate protection.

"The Afghan government may not have realized the full implications of the ban," another U.S. official told CNN. He said U.S. officials and the Afghan government will be meeting over the next few days to try to clarify the issue and, this official said, "we are still optimistic that we can work this through."

Karzai's decision to shut down unregistered private security companies centers on accusations that some of the companies have been involved in criminality, alienating the Afghan people, undermining the credibility of the state and creating a parallel economy.

Some trained police abandon their jobs to make more money working for the private companies. Two-thirds of the companies are unlicensed and the issue has been festering for at least five years, a U.S. official said.

"It was bad, but we never did anything constructive about it," he said. "President Karzai has forced the issue."

Karzai said private security firms are a risk to the national security
and sovereignty of Afghanistan. Afghan forces, he said, will take over some of
the security tasks.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. USMC Forever

    Karzi, you are one stupid camel milk drinking fool. You worry about the professionals who protect you but, you allow bombing after bombing which kills hundreds every week and you do nothing. No wonder your society lives in hooches and poops in holes outside your hooch. I think you are a traitor to Afganistan and in alliance with those PIGS the Taliban.
    I hope you are the next victim of a bombing you sorry P.O.S.

    November 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MK Ultra

    US out of Afghanistan now! Yankees go home!

    October 29, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      They will the end of next year!!!

      October 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. roland

    We need to install electroninc survellance camera, alarm, dogs, military guards inside and outside the US and NATO bases in Afghanistan. We need to protect our own.

    October 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      What is the matter You don't think the troops can't take care of Themselves???

      October 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MK Ultra

      Wouldn't it be easier if y'all just got out, left those people alone to decide their own destiny and took care of your own problems? Y'all got plenty of that and no money to fix it

      October 29, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        We already tried that and it didn't work!!! We have to try to help Them to do the right thing...

        October 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

    I know how to fix this "security" problem. Take the government palace hostage! Ask Karzai how safe he feels. Whip him into shape. Put a NATO Governor in the palace. With the Karzais, there is an endless partisan war in the cards! The world cannot afford it!

    October 28, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
    • MK Ultra

      I have an even easier solution: go home!

      October 29, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. american

    I do not believe it pointed out any religion. I greatly thank the individual for creating this. Do you see the potential for this to spread as it has done there? I do. Thankfully this country is starting to see the possibility and has been acting on it. We are far from alone – look at how many nations overseas support the actions at hand! I hope for my child's and country's future this comes to a complete end now.

    October 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jane Savy

    THE only truth of the matter wiliing to be answered at this time is that the current situation could be better. How,why, who ,where, and when I will leave to the political pundits.

    October 27, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
    • MK Ultra

      They've done great thus far...

      October 29, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tattorey

    Well now that there wont be anymore money making in Afganistan, maybe our troops will come home. Everyone is upset becuase thier interests in these companies will go down. Its all about money people. Open your eyes. We will never win a war against these people. Cut our losses and bring our soliders home!!!

    October 26, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      We are there to train the Troops and police to do that job... Then when We train the Farmers to grow other crops so that They can sell those rather than Drugs Our job will be finished!!! We have to make sure the Tarriest has no other place to go...

      October 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • MK Ultra

        "We are there to train the Troops and police to do that job.."

        Bwaaa haaaa...ROFL! Oh, yeah! Are you in the market for a bridge? I've got a slightly used one in Brooklyn that I can sell you...cheap.

        October 29, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. RSAT4

    You (Americans) are confusing me, tell me what kind people are you( Americans). War is business to you. In my country (South Africa) where someone passes on we cry and feel bad but you seems to enjoy seeing poeple dying. Since the theirs no country that can face you militarly but theirs 1 MAN who will bring you down. Natural disasters will sort you out. As much as I dont like seeing poeple dying but for you I will share no tears. How many poeple have you killed?

    October 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      The Southern African homicide rate is the highest in the world even higher than Central and Southern America. You must do a lot of crying...

      October 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • MK Ultra

        Hey, Bledsoe, have you looked into the suicide rate in the US late? No? How about you start by looking up at the numbers in the military alone? Then, look at the suicide rate in the GLTB community. Then, look up teenage suicide. Then, come back and let's talk. That is, if you don't kill yourself after you find out the truth.

        October 29, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jane Savy

      Coming from an indiviual whose understanding of international laws concerning the humane treatment of individuals caught from illegal immigration I find it disturbing you would begin to critisize the U.S.. Take a look at yourself first before you ridicule anyone else.

      October 27, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Us American's do not like it when Someone attacks Our Country and Kills Our People!!! We fight back when That happens... If You notice We are not the only Country there fighting Them... They have to learn a lesson that You can't go to another Country and kill People and not suffer for what You do!!! Otherwise Know One would be safe from Them...

      October 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • MK Ultra

        "Us American's do not like it when Someone attacks Our Country and Kills Our People!!!"

        How very odd! Neither do other countries when you do it to them! Go figure, eh?

        October 29, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • MK Ultra

      Amerikans are a race of psychopaths. Their "foreign policy" (a/k/a warmongering) reflects their internal ones. They're killing each other on the streets of their own country in case you didn't know. If you want to see at what rate they're doing this, do a simple Google search under "multiple shootings," "spree killings," "disgruntle employee" and you'll see what I mean. To that, now add that their "Tea Party" is also attacking people. It's Karma, my friend, Karma. It's coming back to bite them in the ass and they don't even know what's hitting them.

      October 29, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Nana

      I was wondering the same thing about the so-called "un-infidel" terrorists in Arab countries. How many innocent people do they kill with their suicide bombs anywhere snd everywhere. They surely do not care who they kill, just as long as they do. They are the blood-thirsty ones.

      October 30, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tabela

    wonderful, I really liked it very much ...

    October 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      I'm Glad You Do!!!

      October 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Disappointed

    If this decree go into place 350,000 Afghans will lose their jobs. These are the number of Afghans working for NGOs and international aid projects. Further, Kabul itself and throughout the country will lose their electrical power as these installations are guarded by private security.
    The damage in Kunduz was a direct result of Afghan police shooting RPGs into the house where staff were hiding on the roof. The police here are corrupt and not effective. They will blatantly ask for bribes.

    October 24, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      @ Disappointed "The police here are corrupt and not effective. They will blatantly ask for bribes."- Welcome to Afghanistan, it's not just the police though that are corrupt, it's throughout all levels of the govornment and the people, it is a way of life here.

      October 24, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        We are trying to get Them so They think different!!! Why do You think We are Re-Training Them???

        October 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • MK Ultra

        Gee, the US sounds more and more like Afghanistan by the day.

        October 29, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      There will be a lot better jobs for Them if We get Our way!!!

      October 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. S Eanwar

    When Afghans fought for the "free world" and became heroes defeating Russian in 1979-1985 war, no one had any objections to the "war Lords".

    Having said that, private security is like creating an other layer of war lords. Any and every nation has only one Armed Forces, if its so good lets try privatization of marines / armies, ariforce around the world.

    October 23, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Our Military already knows what They are doing all over the World!!! The problem was We were not listening to Their Leaders... At Least Now We Have A President That Does!!!

      October 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dindy.....sri lanka

    well written prophet ....Mohammed

    October 23, 2010 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dindy.....sri lanka

    After all Karzai is also dangerous !!I It seems like he has no problem with the Taliban"s rude behavior and acts but with the people who really help to build Afghanistan.

    October 23, 2010 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nathan

    We go into a third world backwater country, take it over, and then step back and say, okay corrupt public officials, what do you want us to do now to enable you? Oh brother.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      Yes, first three on the list, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Who is Maggi???

      October 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Yakkobi won't but Maggi May!

      October 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • scarlet

      nathan, what are you doing trolling around this blog?

      October 26, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Axel PerezSotto

    Why we bother?

    October 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      We already tried that and look what happen!!! We are better off using Our troops to do the job... They have to keep Our standards!!!

      October 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Christian

        You can bet the nomenklatura–starting with Karzai–would much prefer personal and family home protection by Blackwater (changing the name was the only change!) et co. than the undertrained, underperforming local yokels who are in it only for the new arms, boots and......the money–without which they disappear into the décor.
        BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO A PEOPLE WHO HAS NO UNDERSTANDING OR USE FOR THE WORD: A TRAGIC JOKE! When will we learn???

        October 23, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Christian: Blackwater did more damage there than good!!! They were out of control...

        October 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • VikingXV

      WHAT THE H§LL HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING? YOUR BRAIN–IF YOU EVER HAD ONE–HAS OBVIOUSLY LIQUIFIED.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • S Eanwar

      GOONS, STOP ABUSING THIS FORUM...

      October 23, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Not all Muslin are like that!!! Just as not all Catholics are Child Molesters...

      October 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nana

      RIDICULOUS,,it is more like this: Karzai wants to be dictator of Afghanistan abd return the country to the brutal Taliban rule including public execution and dominance over woman who will again have no rights.

      October 29, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |