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Afghan Officials Say Private Security Companies Behind Deterioration in Security Print
BBC Monitoring South Asia

Text of report by Rohollah Yaqubi in Pashto: "Mostly private security companies worsen the security situation", published by independent Afghan newspaper Cheragh on 10 October with a subheading inserted editorially

The Internal Security Affairs Committee of the Upper House summoned senior Interior Ministry officials and security officials of Ghazni Province to give explanations for the deterioration in the security situation on 9 Mizan [1 October 2007].

The deputy interior minister for security affairs, Lt-Gen Munir Mangal, said mostly private security companies were involved in the recent deterioration in the security situation and security incidents which had not been registered at the Interior Ministry. Mr Mangal said there were 60 private security companies in Afghanistan. Thirty seven of them have been registered, and the rest are carrying out their activities without the Interior Ministry's permission. He added that these private companies which possessed weapons created security problems in some provinces.

They want to disrupt public order. Mr Mangal said he had discussed this many times with international and domestic organizations and even ministries to take a decision on them. He said it was true that there were some security problems and that insurgents carried out attacks in different places. However, they are not so strong as to fight face to face and get the situation out of control. He said they had taken tough measures in this regard. On the one hand, the issue of reforms in the Interior Ministry is being completed. On the other hand, international aid has increased. He added that 500 all-terrain vehicles were given to the Interior Ministry, and that 1m dollars were given monthly to the Interior Ministry to build its offices. This will bring about a change in the security situation. When asked on the basis of what law private security companies were carrying out their activities, the head of Crime [Fighting] Branch of the Interior Ministry, Mir Mohammad Yarmand, said such companies existed in many countries and held operating licenses.

As many countries' forces and companies have come to Afghanistan and have established private security companies, it is something new for Afghans, and Afghans are unfamiliar with it. He added that as these companies had come to Afghanistan, they had established private security companies for their own safety. Another point worth mentioning is that the Foreign Ministry has issued visas and permission to them to carry out their activities here.

He said: A number of these companies were registered in 1381 when Ali Ahmad Jalali was interior minister. However, some of them have not been registered yet. Another point is that these companies mostly ensure security for reconstruction. If we ban their activities, the reconstruction process will grind to a halt. If not, problems will increase.

Effort to ensure security

He said they would detain and punish in line with the constitution those who worsened the security situation in Afghanistan and did not comply with Afghanistan's constitution. Regarding the security situation in Ghazni, the security commander of Ghazni, Ali Shah Ahmadzai, said: As Ghazni is bigger than Wardag, Logar, Kabul and ... [ellipses as published], there are many Taleban and Al-Qa'idah fighters who create security problems in remote districts sometimes. Despite this, our forces are successful in ensuring security.

He said 75 crimes had been committed in Ghazni so far. Seventy one of them have been detected, and four of them are being investigated. Mr Ahmadzai added that national army and foreign forces had carried out 67 operations in Ghazni. Afghan forces seized nine tonnes of explosives, 1,995 tonnes of chemicals, 226 Taleban fighters, two of them Arabs, five Pakistanis, and 17 suicide bombers, 1,111 armed and civilian suspects, 93 pieces of heavy weaponry, 27 Makarov pistols, 52 vehicles and motorcycles.

He added that their forces achieved first place in Operation Khyber, Operation Maywand and another Operation Maywand. He added that 41 of their soldiers were killed, and 75 wounded in these operations. Ahmadzai said that the Interior Ministry had equipped 80 per cent the Security Command of Ghazni province. But, there were still some problems which needed to be considered. He said the Afghan police did not possess heavy weapons to prevent problems. This is also an important issue. Another problem is that they lack fuel and borrowed 28,000 litres of fuel from the market. Asked how police could ensure security as many of them were drug addicts, Mr Ahmadzai said that he did not think that professional police would join the police force for 3,500 afghanis a month and ensure security. Therefore, they should appoint influential people as policemen and commanders. It is worth pointing out that Ali Shah Paktiawal, the head of Crime [Fighting] Branch of Kabul Security Command, also accused private security companies of worsening the security situation, and said at the Upper House's session that offenders were on the wanted list.

Originally published by Cheragh, Kabul, in Dari and Pashto 10 Oct 07 p2.
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