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BBC Monitoring International Reports
Text of editorial, entitled: "Legitimizing activities of private security companies", published by Afghan newspaper Mosharekat-e Melli website on 30

The illegal distribution of light and heavy weapons during the civil war in Afghanistan has been one of the important security concerns on the route to stability and peace in the country. The Afghan government and the international community set up the DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration] and the DIAG [Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups] programmes consecutively to demobilize and disarm illegal armed groups. It is worth pointing out that the more security incidents increase, the more important disarmament and demobilization become. At the same time, the unrestrained rise in number of private security companies has caused grave concern at a national level, chiefly due to the fact that they are needed to reinforce security and tackle subversive activities targeting important government offices, foreign organizations, banks, political and social figures' offices and so forth.

The major factors behind this deep concern have been the rising number of these companies, the growing investment in this field, a lack of transparency in the activities of these companies, their registration and the quantity of their weapons and ammunition. Moreover, how long these companies have the right to work is another growing concern among the people. According to reports, the license of a number of these companies has expired, but they continue to work freely without informing the relevant ministries and departments. The two important issues with regard to formation, management and activities of the authorized private security companies are that they may continue violating the laws and that the government's supervision of their activities will possibly be poor and inadequate.

As a result and in view of the fragile security situation, government officials and policy makers should scrutinize the issue, list the weak and strong points of these companies and then make their formation, registration and activities lawful. The effective step to reduce public concern is to monitor the activities of these private security companies, organize their activities in line with regulations, levy taxes on them, take registration fees from them etc.

Source: Mosharekat-e Melli website, Kabul, in Dari 30 Jul 07

BBC Monitoring

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