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May 30, 2007 Wednesday - BBC Monitoring International Reports

Text of report by M Aryan in Pashto entitled "Private security companies are involved in unrest" Afghan newspaper Kabul Weekly on 30 May

Officials of the Interior Ministry say armed employees of private security companies are involved in a number of criminal incidents in Kabul. The spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Zmarai Bashari, in an exclusive interview with Kabul Weekly, told that based on their reports, police hade arrested the armed staff of private security companies on charges of involvement in criminal incidents. Bashari said their problem with the private security companies is that the armed staffs of these companies walk in the city without having legal documents.
According to Bashari there are many examples of such cases where these armed individuals have been arrested on charges of involvement in criminal incidents by police. Bashari said that so far they did not know how many personnel and weapons these private security companies have; but they have assigned a commission to count the number of the personnel and weapons of these companies.

Further, Kabul police also say that armed personnel of the private security companies are linked with some criminal cases in the city and that they carry illegal weapons.

The head of crime branch of Kabul Security Command, Gen Ali Shah Paktiawal, says they have arrested a number of armed personnel of the private security companies who were involved in criminal incidents in Kabul city over the last and the current year. Paktiawal says the files of the arrested armed personnel of the private security companies have been submitted to the relevant entities after being arrested by police.

Paktiawal said they had arrested armed personnel of the Compass, USPI [United States Protection and Investigation] agency and Khawaran private security companies together with illegal weapons. He added that last week they arrested an armed personnel of one of the above mentioned private security companies along with illegal weapon.

The police in Kabul city had conducted an operation in Kabul around four months ago during which they arrested many such individuals who had been carrying illegal weapons. At that time police had announced that some of the arrested individuals belonged to private security companies. Paktiawal says they seized more than 100 illegal weapons belonging to private security companies during operation in Kabul city.

We tried to interview the officials of the private security companies and get their comments but we were not able to do so despite our efforts. The officials of the USPI private security companies in Kabul refused to give interview to Kabul Weekly.

Private security companies have been issued licenses in Afghanistan over the past five years and according to the information released by the Interior Ministry, more than 50 private security companies are currently operating all over Afghanistan.

Source: Kabul Weekly in Pashto 30 May 07
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