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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Security Companies in Afghanistan

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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Image: Jezebel, via AP

The mess with security companies in Afghanistan is equal to the confusion and chaos within US-NATO forces. The Afghan warlords and the US government appear to have a few qualities in common - including secrecy.

The Working Group, presents a report to the UN General Assembly in New York today. Relief Web says: Though heavily armed, the "private security guards" the companies employ are neither civilians nor combatants, the Group notes. They represent a new form of mercenarism, similar to "irregular combatants", itself an unclear concept, the Group adds. The Working Group warns that States that employ these services may be responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the personnel of such companies.

Following is some available information about the security companies in Afghanistan: Aegis, Armorgroup, Blackwater, Dyncorp, Gardaworld, Global Strategies, Khawar, Olive, Mallat, Olympus, Paul Grimes, Saladin, SOC-SMG, SIG, USPI, Watan and Caps.

Updated 11 November 2009


Afghanistan National Security Forces
31.01.07. Training National Police. The United States has been working in partnership with Germany in training the Afghan National Police. Germany is training senior police leadership at the Kabul police academy. The U.S. is providing basic training courses at a central training facility in Kabul and seven Regional Training Centers in other provinces.

Security firms challenge state authority
12.04.07. akmal Dawi, e-Ariana. Only in two years, 2004 to 2006, 59 private security companies were registered by Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA). Hiring people from different parts of the underdeveloped world these non-state security firms have installed hundreds of armed men in Kabul majority of who do not know much about socio-cultural complexities in Afghanistan. According to Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior (MoI), there is no specific law or a formal code of conduct to regulate the activities of these profit-making security providers that undertake different services to their Afghan and international clients in the country.

02.05.07. Fariba Nawa, Corpwatch. Nearly every big contractor in Afghanistan hires a security firm to protect its employees, offices, guesthouses, and equipment. There are also the foreign security firms that focus on Afghan police and military training. Security makes up another huge sector of foreign business in Afghanistan. The American embassy in Kabul spends up to 25 percent of its budget on security. FEAR IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS; BEDFELLOWS WITH WARLORDS; DYNCORP: THE COWBOYS; Armed & untrained; DYNCORP AND DRUGS

Private companies in Afghanistan threaten to leave unless security improves
25.09.07. Some government and private companies have urged the government to reinforce security for their staffers at project sites. They warned that if the government is not able to reinforce security they will stop work and leave the country. Afghan economists said however that the presence of private companies was highly important for the country's rehabilitation and economy. Draft Government Policy on Private Security Companies (11.10.07. AP / NBC).

Draft GoA rules for private security contractors
Afghanistan Watch. Associated Press obtained a draft of the policy being discussed by the Government of Afghanistan on security contractors. The document must receive approval from the Cabinet before entering into effect. It notes that "the GOA (government of Afghanistan) has allowed for limited PSC operations and activities. However, increasingly, the absence of targeted regulation ... in parallel with unstable security environment has generated an unfortunate and nearly anarchical PSC market with a long series of security problems and criminal activities

Afghans Cracking Down on Security Firms
12.10.07. AP. Echoing a growing problem in Iraq, Afghan authorities are cracking down on lucrative but largely unregulated security firms, some of which are suspected of murder. Dozens of security companies also operate in Afghanistan, some of them well-known U.S. firms such as Blackwater and Dyncorp, but also many others that may not be known even to Afghan government. Watan and Caps to be closed, and more companies "maybe 13, maybe 14" will be closed next week, including some whose employees may have committed murder or robberies, he [Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal] said.

UN report describes new mercenary activity
17.10.07. IHT. In Peru, the [UN] panel heard that hundreds of Peruvians had been recruited and trained by private security companies to work in Iraq and Afghanistan as security guards and that at least 1,000 remained in Iraq.

DOD official orders head count of private security guards
19.10.07. John Young, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has launched a comprehensive head count of private security contractors working for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congress wants answers over $1bn war zone fees
23.10.07. MacAskill, Guardian. The chaotic relationship between the US government and private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan was today highlighted by a Congressional investigation into where more than $1bn allocated for police training has gone.The report, published today, found the state department could not account for most of the $1.2bn (£600m) paid to DynCorp, the Virginia-based company that is the biggest recipient of state department funding. Previous investigations into the work of private contractors have highlighted lack of oversight, waste and alleged corruption. DynCorp won the contract on February 2004 to provide housing, food, security, facilities and staff for police training.

Use of Contractors by State Department Has Soared
24.10.07. J. Broder, NY Times / Truthout. Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, administration officials said Tuesday, but they said that the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts. After the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan, contracts grew again, eventually bringing the company Dyncorp $400 million a year. The law enforcement office had DynCorp dispatch dozens, then hundreds, of police trainers to Afghanistan. The diplomatic security office had DynCorp send employees to guard the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Former State Department officials and Afghan officials said the DynCorp guards were far too aggressive in their tactics, and their conduct alienated Afghan and European officials, as well as Afghan citizens. Gregory Lagana, a DynCorp spokesman, said the company agreed there was a problem and replaced the guards. "The demeanor, the swagger, was wrong," he said. "We put a stop to that." American military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan said the quality of trainers was mixed as well. Jonathan Shiroma, a captain in the California National Guard who worked with DynCorp trainers in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, said some were "outstanding," while others preferred to remain on base. DynCorp and Blackwater, meanwhile, continue to win contracts.

Rice Says Hole in U.S. Law Shields Contractors in Iraq
25.10.07. NY Times. [ and Afghanistan? ; see photo, top] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice conceded on Thursday that there was a hole in United States law that had allowed Blackwater USA employees and other armed contractors in Iraq to escape legal jeopardy for crimes possibly committed there.

In an appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ms. Rice said the administration would support new laws that would apply to contractors but expressed reservations about proposals to bring contractors under the military justice system. She deferred a number of other questions about problems with the supervision of the thousands of private security guards in Iraq, saying she planned to meet with Robert M. Gates, the secretary of defense, to try to come up with new rules to avoid episodes like the shooting by Blackwater gunmen on Sept. 16 that Iraqi investigators have said left 17 Iraqis dead. Obviously we need a better coordinated policy for all of them, she said. Blackwater, meanwhile, under continuing siege in the courts, the news media and Congress, stepped up its public relations efforts this week with a mass e-mail message to its employees, suppliers, fellow security contractors and political allies, asking them to flood Congress with messages of support.

Security contractors lose immunity in Iraq
25.10.07. THE Iraqi Government has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country. [ The Afghan government should do the same ]

US trains terrorists in Afghanistan
25.10.07. Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-mohammadi says Washington has established centers in Afghanistan for training terrorists. Referring to Taliban-style recruiting camps used to spread insurgency, Mostafa Pour-mohammadi said the Americans, during the past years, have set up centers in Afghanistan to train and dispatch terrorists to other countries. There are comprehensive evidences proving that the United States is sending terrorists to Iran, Afghanistan and many other countries, said Pour-mohammadi adding that the second US-supported center has been set up in Iraq.

U.S. Military to Supervise Iraq Security Convoys
30.10.07. NY Times. [ and Afghanistan?]

Private Military Contractors also Creating Problems in Afghanistan
30.10.07. Carl Robichaud, Afghanistan Watch. After the Sept. 16 Blackwater scandal, which drew unprecedented attention to the role played by private security contractors (PSCs) in Iraq, these firms have increasingly come under scrutiny in other theaters of war, such as Afghanistan. But while efforts in Afghanistan to rein in PSCs seem to parallel those in Iraq, they are driven by different dynamics -- and have very different implications.

Crime-buster in an Armani suit takes on private armies of Kabul
31.10.06. ANTHONY LOYD, timesonline. [ very informative article]. A ride out with the Afghan flying squad on its mission to shut down rogue security firms. It was a flying squad bust Afghan style. General Paktiawal sped down Kabuls mean streets at the head of a column of his gun-toting detectives.

Yet resplendent in a silver-grey Armani suit, slicked-back hair and bling ring, the man in charge looked more Miami Vice than the Sweeney. Even General Paktiawals choice of weapon, the Walther PPK clutched in his hand, denoted a certain refined style. It was, after all, James Bonds second-favourite pistol. No slouch at self-publicity, the CID chief had called up a couple of Afghan television cameramen to accompany him on the raid. Screeching to a halt in a narrow alleyway at the capitals outskirts, General Paktiawal burst through the gates of a compound and quickly oversaw the first arrest, spinning the prisoner around to the wall with a hefty clout about the head. Where are the others? Where are the weapons?
[See Times right hand column of this article, entitled: Kabul CID slide show.]

Secure employment?

10,000 Estimated number of private security guards in Kabul

59 Private security companies fully registered with the Government

3,600 Employed in Afghanistan by USPI, the firm with the biggest US Government contract

1,200, stationed in Afghanistan by the British company Armour Group UK

£750 Top rate paid to a private security guard for a days work

Sources: Afghan National Police; Security Management Magazine; US Department of Defense;

Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. J. Boone, FT / NBC. Efforts to clean up the private security industry in Afghanistan have become mired in corruption and have caused severe operational problems for contractors charged with guarding embassies and international staff, security companies claim. Eight companies have been closed and Ali Shah Paktiawal, director of criminal investigations for Kabul's police, said he had more in his sights. Mr Paktiawal told the FT that operational secrecy meant he was unable to explain why the eight mostly Afghan-owned companies closed down in the last three weeks were selected.

Private security companies engaging in new forms of mercenary activity, says UN Working Group
06.11.07. Relief Web. The Working Group, which will present the report to the UN General Assembly in New York on 7 November 2007, says there has been a significant increase in the number of private security companies operating in conflict-ridden areas, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though heavily armed, the "private security guards" the companies employ are neither civilians nor combatants, the Group notes. They represent a new form of mercenarism, similar to "irregular combatants", itself an unclear concept, the Group adds. The Working Group warns that States that employ these services may be responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the personnel of such companies. Such violations are furthermore attributable to those States if the private military and private security companies are empowered to exercise elements of governmental authority or are acting under governmental direction or control. FULL REPORT AVAILABLE AT/ RAPPORT DISPONIBLE SUR:

Security Companies

The site is useless: no search facility; no special section on Afghanistan; Aegis is not transparent, nor is it user-friendly.

10 pages of PR information, including:

Armorgroup Training

Armorgroups Anjuman Base, Afghanistan

On April 2 (2007) it was announced that ArmorGroup North America, a McLean, Virginia-based subsidiary of UK-based ArmorGroup International, had been awarded the contract to provide guard services at the US Embassy in Kabul. The contract, worth up to $189 million, will run for up to five years from early this month. The announcement means that the firm is now one of the biggest armed-guard providers in Afghanistan, alongside big US contractors such as DynCorp International Inc and Blackwater USA. ArmorGroup has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002, supporting commercial, governmental and non-governmental-organization clients. In the bid process, ArmorGroup beat the current holders of the contract, Global Security Inc, while US competitors Herndon, Triple Canopy and DynCorp were also thought to have applied. .. Roughly one-third of ArmorGroup's direct revenue comes from the British and US governments. In fact, in terms of growth, Afghanistan has been far more lucrative for ArmorGroup than Iraq.

Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. J. Boone, FT / NBC. ArmorGroup, the UK-based company that runs security for both the US and UK embassies in Kabul, said there had been several incidents where staff, while guarding clients, have had their weapons removed at checkpoints by Afghan police who thought their licences had lapsed. The company said they have received assurances that their licences have been extended. However, they appear to be out of date because AmorGroup has been unable to get new certificates issued.

ArmorGroup To Broaden Afghan Training Operations
06.11.07. defensenews. One of the biggest private military firms working in Afghanistan plans to expand its operations and infrastructure here so it can offer training and security accreditation to Afghan guards, and eventually to Afghan government personnel. ArmorGroup has spent $4 million to build a fairly comprehensive infrastructure across the country at several locations, with Anjuman Base being its main facility. Anjuman can accommodate 300 visitors and has a 24-hour operations center, a medical clinic, gymnasium, training classrooms, off-road driving track and a close-quarter battle training house. It was the first commercial security base built in Afghanistan, company officials said. Plans include the construction of a firing range and more housing for clients. Hornett said additional training facilities are also planned, including the construction of a mock police station, cells and checkpoints.


The joyride of Blackwater 61
09.10.07. Afghanistan Watch, the Century Foundation. Includes Der Spiegel cockpit voice recorder transcript (06.10.07) of pilots discussion in deadly joyride abroad Flight Blackwater 61, which crashed killing all but Harley Miller, who froze to death before the search teams could find him.

Pilot Said "This Is Fun" Before Fatal Blackwater Crash
03.10.07. CNN / Truthout. CNN News reports: "A 2004 crash that killed everyone on board - three crew members and three US troops - was caused by pilots from a Blackwater plane taking a low-level run through a mountain canyon in Afghanistan, testimony revealed Tuesday."
AFGHANISTAN: Blackwater Broke Rules, Report Says
05.10.05. Washington Post / corpwatch. A private contracting firm flying in Afghanistan for the U.S. military was in violation of numerous government regulations and contract requirements when one of its planes crashed into a mountainside in November 2004, killing all six on board, according to an Army report made public yesterday.The four contracting firms named as defendants -- Aviation Worldwide Services LLC, Presidential Airways Inc., STI Aviation Inc. and Air Quest Inc. -- are all Florida-based subsidiaries of the Prince Group. The Army's Collateral Investigation Board report on the accident was released months ago with many of the findings blacked out. .. It (Presidential Airways) added that the Army report "was concluded in only two weeks and contains numerous errors, misstatements, and unfounded assumptions."

Blackwater Loses Bid to Reject Wrongful Death Suit in Afghan Plane Crash
11.10.07. Democracy Now. [Two years later] Blackwater has claimed the lawsuit should be dismissed, but last week three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected that argument. Transcript.

VIDEO: Congress on Blackwater: part 1; Afghanistan Helicopter crash

Afghanistan Shuts Down 2 Security Firms
11.10.07. 10 Other Private Contractors Targeted; Some Suspected Of Murder, Robbery Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. Embassy convoy in Baghdad are accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in a shooting on Sept. 16, an incident that enraged the Iraqi government, which is demanding millions in compensation for the victims and removal of Blackwater in six months.

Air Force Officers vs Blackwater
(no date) Two U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonels are facing an Article 32 investigation this week after being charged with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer. The charges were filed as a result of reports related to a roadside run in with a Blackwater employee in Afghanistan back in the fall of 2006. The facts of the case are disputed and the two officers are facing charges that could result in a court-martial.

Blackwater Won't Allow Arrests
17.10.07. Sharon Behn -Washington Times / ICH. A defiant Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince said yesterday he will not allow Iraqi [ and presumably Afghan ] authorities to arrest his contractors and try them in Iraq's faulty justice system.

Chairman Waxman Seeks Further Information on Blackwater Contracts from Rice, Gates and Blackwater CEO
19.10.07. letter to Gates: On March 31, 2007, I requested from the Department documents relating to all incidents involving private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. On September 11, 2007, I renewed the Committee's request for documents on this particular incident and also requested a briefing. To date, the Committee has received no information from the Defense Department relating to this incident.

Blackwater Wanted Iraqi Military Planes
20.10.07. AP. Blackwater USA tried to take at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq two years ago and refused to give the planes back when Iraqi officials sought to reclaim them, according to a congressional committee investigating the private security contractor. [ Where are these planes now? ]

Waxman: Blackwater Violated Tax Laws
22.10.07. Guardian. By classifying its armed guards and other personnel as independent contractors instead of employees, Blackwater has apparently evaded withholding and paying these taxes,'' Waxman, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Blackwater chief Erik Prince. Two other companies that provide similar services in Iraq and Afghanistan - DynCorp International and Triple Canopy - classify their workers as company employees.

Congress wants answers over $1bn war zone fees
23.10.07. MacAskill, Guardian. The chaotic relationship between the US government and private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan was today highlighted by a Congressional investigation into where more than $1bn allocated for police training has gone.The report, published today, found the state department could not account for most of the $1.2bn (£600m) paid to DynCorp, the Virginia-based company that is the biggest recipient of state department funding. Previous investigations into the work of private contractors have highlighted lack of oversight, waste and alleged corruption. >u>DynCorp won the contract on February 2004 to provide housing, food, security, facilities and staff for police training.

The business of war gets a friendlier face
29.10.07. P. York, Guardian. Blackwater, the notorious private security company deployed alongside US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, recently softened its logo. The old pawprint looked like something from a computer game, or film - like a Terminator or Robocop bear. The new pawprint has been softened. The logo has also dropped the vertical rifle-scope crosshairs, so it doesn't immediately say, "We shoot the nasty bear for you."

UPDATE: another change, but pot still calls kettle black?

In shift, Blackwater dumps tarnished brand name

13.02.09. M. Baker, AP. Blackwater said Friday it will no longer operate under the name that came to be known worldwide as a caustic moniker for private security, dropping the tarnished brand for a disarming and simple identity: Xe, which is pronounced like the letter "z." / It's a rare surrender for a company that cherished a brand name inspired by the dark-water swamps of northeastern North Carolina, one that survived another rebranding effort about a year ago, following a deadly shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. The decision to give it up underscores how badly the Moyock-based company's brand was damaged by that incident and other security work in Iraq. / ... The company is also replacing its bear paw logo with a sleeker black-and-white graphic based on letters that make up the company's new name.


Zero information


Elvin Hensley of DynCorp walks through
an opium poppy field in April 2006
Photo John Moore, Getty Image

Excellent details on Dyncorp at Corpwatch.

AFGHANISTAN: Dyncorp Guards Chastised by U.S. State Department
11.10.04. BBC / Corpwatch. US State Department's Richard Boucher said the issue was raised with DynCorp, the company that supplied the guards. There have been several reported cases of apparently over-zealous and insensitive conduct on the part of Mr Karzai's private security contractors. A BBC correspondent recently saw one of the guards slap an Afghan minister.

Afghanistan deal could net DynCorp over $2.1B
24.12.06. pameladrew.newsvine. What the article fails to mention is the billions in herbicide contracts given to Monsanto and the Agent Orange gang to soak these countries with toxins. .. "After nearly a decade of experience eradicating illicit-drug crops in Colombia for the State Department, DynCorp has won a new contract that could earn the company more than $2.1 billion over the next 10 years and will include operations in Afghanistan, the worlds biggest producer of opium.

The world of private 'security': Unleashed: the fat cats of war
26.10.07. Kim Sengupta, Independent. DynCorp International also trained Afghan President Hamid Karzai's security guards. The company was also hired [along with Blackwater] to assist with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. It has been involved in "Plan Colombia" and is training Afghan forces in opium poppy eradication.

Private Military Contractors also Creating Problems in Afghanistan
30.10.07. Carl Robichaud, Afghanistan Watch.
In Afghanistan, problems with security contractors are hardly new. Their actions have attracted little media attention in the West but have sometimes outraged Afghans, as when, during the October 2004 Presidential campaign, one of President Karzai's DynCorps bodyguards slapped Afghanistan's minister of transport in the face. The action, a serious insult in Afghan culture, became for many Afghans as a symbol of foreign imperiousness.


Garda has 1,800 workers in war zones
15.05. Private security in iraq, afghanistan. Two big acquisitions in last 2 years land Montreal firm in Baghdad's Green Zone. The Montreal-based Garda plunged into the personal security business in a big way two years ago with its $67.25-million acquisition of Vance International Inc., one of the largest private-security operations in the world. It followed that with the purchase last December of Kroll Security International, based in London. KSI is a leading risk-management company in the region.


Formerly Global Risk Strategies.

Where We Work: Afghanistan

Kim Sengupta writes: Global calls itself a "political and security risk management company". It was founded in 1988 by former Marine Damien Perl and Charlie Andrews, a former Scots Guards officer. In Iraq they employ many Fijians discharged from UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, who are paid considerably less than their western counterparts. The company boasts 93 field-based operational and logistical experts (plus staff) in Kabul and teams in all eight regions of Afghanistan identifying and assessing potential voter registration sites for a forthcoming election. They are active in: Colombia, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and China.


The Kabul Government turned its sights on the companies this year when guards from Khawar, the largest Afghan security company, beat up the Attorney-General in a road-rage incident north of the capital. Khawars boss, General Jurat, a former warlord and a big supplier of personnel to USPI, quickly found his business closed down while police investigations began on others of the citys security companies. See also Afghanistan attorney general says army general assaulted him (Jurist 08.06.07)

There is no search button. Not transparent enough.

Kim Sengupta and Charlie Gilmour write:Olive operates in more than 30 countries. As well as providing security services, it engages in post-conflict reconstruction and aid work, including de-mining and ordinance disposal. Founded in 2001, the company employs around 600 people worldwide, although it also sub-contracts to local organisations. Its actions are monitored by an ethics committee, which has the right to veto any project, and the company supports a number of charitable organisations. Its senior team has worked with UK special forces, the Prime Minister's office and leading technology companies and investment banks. Olive Group also offers security training to corporations, government and security personnel.


The target of the raid was a private security company protecting a Nato logistics yard. And there was more than just the question of an expired licence for Mellat International Security. As the generals men spread out through the compound, arresting 19 of the companys uniformed guards, they uncovered an arsenal of weapons as well as Afghan army uniforms, electric probes, truncheons and handcuffs. The company might have been hired to safeguard building materials and kit supplies, but its own equipment suggested that its operatives were more a private militia than mere security guards.


OSG operatives have been deployed to Afghanistan.

Afghan police raid British-based security company, 8th to be closed in crackdown
29.10.07. IHT. Afghan police on Monday raided and shut down a British-based security company in Kabul, the eighth such firm to be closed this month in a crackdown to reign in the chaotic industry... Police arrested three Afghan guards and the Afghan director of Olympus Security Group for operating without a license. Paktiawal has said previously that 12 or 13 security companies would be targeted in the closures. Olympus, which has only a small presence in Kabul, is the first foreign security company to be shut down following the closures of seven Afghan security firms. A woman who answered the phone at the company's headquarters in Gloucestershire said no one was immediately available to speak about the company's Afghan operations. .. About 60 security companies are registered with the government, but two dozen others are thought to be in existence.

US soldier's family brings legal action against British private security firm
30.10.07. S. Goldenberg, Guardian. Authorities close down UK contractors in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, the authorities stepped up their crackdown on private security contractors yesterday, raiding the premises of a British-based firm, Olympus, in Kabul. It was the eighth private security firm to be raided and closed in a month, but the first foreign firm. ..


Govt shuts down US firm
15.10.07. TWO American citizens involved in a paramilitary security company who wanted to recruit about 4 000 Namibians to work in Iraq and Afghanistan to guard US military bases were deported over the weekend after Government shut down their newly established business "Paul Grimes, Country Representative of SOC-SMG, and Frederic Piry, Chief of Operations of SOC-SMG (see below) , have been declared prohibited immigrants and served with deportation orders on Friday, 12 October 2007," the Minister announced.

Namibia Deports US Security Employees
17.10.07. AP. Nandi-Ndaitwah said two American employees of the firm Paul Grimes, the firm's country representative and Fredric Piry, the chief of operations were to be "immediately removed" from the country. Local media quoted Grimes as saying the company had the blessing of the country's labor and safety and security ministries. "We are looking for noncombatant security guards to guard dining facilities, gyms, military base hospitals in Iraq," Grimes was quoted as saying in one newspaper.


Hired gunmen protect VIPs
22.10.07. Canada's diplomats in Kabul and visiting high-value targets like Prime Minister Stephen Harper are protected by a group of heavily armed gunmen hired by Saladin Security, a British firm with a long history of secretive and clandestine operations. Department of Foreign Affairs officials in Ottawa are tight-lipped about the deal struck with Saladin, whose gun-toting employees provide perimeter security, operate checkpoints, serve as bodyguards and form a heavily armed rapid-reaction force designed to move quickly to thwart an attempted kidnapping and rescue survivors of suicide attacks or car-bombings in Kabul. Saladin, which operates worldwide, has not been publicly implicated in any of the alleged excesses or crimes attributed to private security firms in Afghanistan.


See also: Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group

In a story about security employees in
Namibia (17.10.07. AP.): According to SOC-SMG's Web site, the firm's clients include the U.S. departments of defense, state and energy, as well as the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines and Naval special forces. The company had aimed to recruit at least 3,000 Namibians to work in Iraq and Afghanistan through a local employment agency, with promised salaries of $1,000 a month, local newspapers reported. It is not clear whether anyone had been recruited yet.


No mention is made about Afghanistan in the summary in Welcome. However, the following story has now appeared.

Assassination accusations
05.11.07. A television documentary claims that a Norwegian security company trains staff to torture and cites a report accusing the firm of executions. On the Monday edition of Dokument 2 images from the Norwegian managed security company Special Intervention Group's (SIG) extreme training course will be shown. The company is led by two Norwegians and provides training for Norwegians, Swedes and Danes to become bodyguards in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, newspaper Dagbladet reports. The police report claims to have confirmed information that SIG has carried out liquidation assignments in Afghanistan for the American government, but the company rejects the accusation as "nonsense".


Very long newsletter (pdf) available on site.

U.S. Protection and Investigations is the most visible security company in the cities and on the roads of Afghanistan. USPI is a mom-and-pop firm from Texas founded in 1987 by Barbara Spier, a former safety inspector for a restaurant chain, and her husband Del, a private investigator specializing in insurance fraud and workman's compensation cases. The firm has contracts with United Nations, private contractors and foreign government agencies in Afghanistan. Its main selling point is price: It can underbid its competitors largely because it spends so little on hiring qualified guards. .. The company was criticized last year when a British engineer it was guarding was captured and nearly decapitated by rebels claiming to be Taliban. In a another case, an American USPI supervisor shot and killed his Afghan interpreter, Noor Ahmed, after an argument (self-defense the usual excuse). The International Crisis Group, an NGO dedicated to resolving conflict, has criticized USPI for employing former militias and allowing them to use their position to carry out illegal activities, including drug trafficking. USPI hired by Louis Berger Group.

Further details here

Texas firm accused of overbilling U.S. government in Afghanistan
11.10.07. Houston-based U.S. Protection and Investigations (USPI), which does security work for the U.S. State Department arm USAID, is the latest firm to face scrutiny since private (Blackwater) guards allegedly killed 17 Iraqi civilians.

USPI United States
USPI employs 3,600 people in Afghanistan and holds the largest US government contract there. Based in Texas, the company was founded by Del and Barbara Spier in 1987. Earlier this month it was accused of over-billing the US government by millions of dollars for non-existent employees and vehicles, a claim it denied. In a 2005 report on disarmament in Afghanistan, the Belgian International Crisis Group said the majority of men on USPI's payroll were associated with private militias. USPI's headquarters in Kandahar has been hit by a suicide bomb and another suicide bomber targeting a convoy being escorted by USPI personnel killed 15 people and injured 26.

Report: KBR Dominates Iraq, Afghan Contracting
20.11.07. ABC. The Bush administration has awarded the company, once known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, more than $16 billion for work in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006, the Center for Public Integrity found. That figure dwarfs the total contracting dollars won by other corporations working on behalf of the United States in the two occupied countries. DynCorp International, the security firm which ranked second in CPI's report, brought in less than $2 billion in federal dollars, mostly for the State Department, the group found. Houston, Tex.-based KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton, Inc. until the parent spun it off in April through the sale of public stock. Halliburton, once run by now-Vice President Dick Cheney, moved its corporate headquarters to Dubai in March

Kajaki Dam, Afghanistan [Picture: PO (Phot) Sean Clee]

Crime-buster in an Armani suit takes on private armies of Kabul
31.10.07. ANTHONY LOYD, timesonline. A ride out with the Afghan flying squad on its mission to shut down rogue security firms. Foreign companies under investigation include the Texas-based US Protection and Investigation (USPI), responsible for protecting the Kajaki dam in Helmand, where British troops are operating to clear the Taleban from the huge hydroelectric reconstruction project. Kabul CID have already arrested two of the companys local staff, while in the United States the FBI is investigating USPI accounts after it came under suspicion of fraud.


Afghans Cracking Down on Security Firms
12.10.07. AP. Watan and Caps to be closed, and more companies "maybe 13, maybe 14" will be closed next week, including some whose employees may have committed murder or robberies, he [Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal] said.

Companies bemoan industry clean-up
01.11.07. FT / NBC. Ahmad Ratib, head of Watan Risk Management, one of the first companies to be closed down, has complained of "bias" in the decision to shut his company.

Witan Risk Management", set up in 2005 by two Afghan-American brothers and a British former SBS service-man, had its armoury of Kalashnikovs seized by police two weeks ago, despite all of its documentation being in order. It is now in danger of losing key foreign clients and believes that the move against it was designed by competitors in the Ministry of Interior to seize its business for themselves.



Private security firms a problem in Afghanistan-study
12.11.07. Reuters. 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.
The number of private security companies has risen steadily since U.S.-led and Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001, with armed men guarding homes and offices in cities and supply convoys and construction projects in the countryside.

The Swisspeace report

Did Afghan bodyguards massacre civilians?
17.11.07. AP, thestar. UN report says gunfire from panicking security detail hit most of 180 bombing victims after bomb went off. Up to two-thirds of the 77 people killed and 100 wounded in a suicide bombing last week [Nov. 6] were hit by bullets from visiting lawmakers' panicked bodyguards, who fired on a crowd of mostly schoolchildren for up to five minutes, a preliminary UN report says. ... Among the parliamentarians killed was Sayed Mustafa Kazimi, the chief spokesman of Afghanistan's only opposition group, the National Front.

Nobody guarding Afghanistan's guards
20.11.07. Aunohita Mojumdar, Asia Times. The Afghan government and its international partners are struggling to bolster the country's security forces, fighting the twin problems of boosting the numbers of the national army and trying to disband illegal armed groups. Yet, an unmonitored, unregulated and unauthorized force is on the streets, not just under the noses of authorities but also hired and legitimized by those working on building the security sector. As many as 28,000 armed personnel are hired by private security companies (PSCs), which have been operating as a lucrative business in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001, providing protection to foreigners and elite Afghans, guarding institutions, homes and individuals. The number of armed contractors is more than half the Afghan National Army, which is estimated at between 35,000 to 50,000, and could be larger if the numbers of "irregular" forces are added to the ranks of legal contractors.

All private security firms must close: Afghanistan
22.11.07. AFP. Authorities in Afghanistan want to close down all private security firms operating in the country, many of them illegally, President Hamid Karzai's office said. About nine unlicensed companies have already been shut down in a crackdown that has been under way in Kabul for weeks, according to city police. Under the constitution "only the Afghan government has the right of having and handling weapons, so private companies are against the constitution," the president's spokesman Siamak Hirawi told AFP late Wednesday. .. "But for the time being a small number of private companies which can prepare themselves to meet the regulations put in place by the ministry of interior will be allowed temporary licences." Only a "handful" of such companies would be allowed to operate mainly for the use of international organisations and the United Nations, he said.

Canadian Forces hire controversial security firm
02.12.07. The Canadian Forces have hired a private-security firm in Afghanistan that once employed a former member [Gray Banfield] of a South African military unit that assassinated opponents of the apartheid regime. The British firm Hart Security provides protection to Canada's Strategic Advisory Team, a team of about 20 military officers and foreign-affairs officials who advise the Afghan government in Kabul.

DynCorp Awarded $49 Million Army Project
10.12.07. Money, CNN. DynCorp International Receives $49 Million Contract to Build Garrison in [Jalalabad] Afghanistan. The new garrison in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border will accommodate up to 4,000 Afghan troops, the company said. The 160-acre site will support 50 buildings, including dormitories, training rooms, offices and security structures.

Raytheon wins NATO surveillance contract
17.12.07. UPI. Raytheon said in a statement last week that it had "been awarded a $5.3 million contract by NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency to provide tower-based, elevated persistent surveillance capability for protection of NATO forces in Afghanistan." "The Enhanced Surveillance Systems has similarities to Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment -- RAID -- systems currently deployed by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to providing the enhanced surveillance systems equipment, Raytheon will also provide all logistics support services required to keep the systems operational," the company said.

Houston-Based Security Company's Workers Killed In Afghanistan
18.12.07. click2houston. Fifteen Afghan guards with U.S. Protection and Investigation were killed and five others were injured in an attack by Taliban fighters in western Afghanistan. Six to eight USPI vehicles were guarding a convoy of fuel tankers when the fighters attacked.

The Gunmen of Kabul
19.12.07. Fariba Nawa, corpwatch. The booming private security industry in Afghanistan has been the target of a
number government raids in the last few months. One of the largest contractors -- United States Protection and Investigations (USPI) from Texas -- has been accused of corruption.

Private Security Contractors Look to Africa for Recruits
08.01.08. Stephanie Hanes, Christian Science Monitor / Truthout. Over the past few years, in Namibia and Uganda, Mozambique, and Burundi, and scores of other impoverished, war-torn countries, American private security companies have increased efforts to hire former fighters for work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other global hot spots, according to researchers, human rights activists, and those in the private security industry.

Human Rights First report. "This report examines the dramatic and expanded use by the United States of private security contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the abject failure of the U.S. government to control their actions or hold them criminally responsible for acts of excessive violence and abuse. As the ranks of private security contractors have grown and the number of serious incidents has increased, the U.S. government has failed to establish a workable accountability mechanism. In Iraq in particular the interplay between private security contractors, international military forces and local populations has exposed severe problems. But these issues are not unique to Iraq, and they will continue after Iraq."

AFGHANISTAN: Security companies fall foul of gun controls
11.02.08. timesonline / corpwatch. Afghan police have begun a crackdown on private security guards carrying guns in Kabul, paralysing foreign aid and other organisations whose rules oblige them to travel with armed escorts. The Interior Ministry has also detained four foreign employees of two security companies for several days, including two British citizens who were released on Saturday but still have charges pending against them, The Times has learnt. Industry insiders say that elements of the police are trying to cripple foreign firms and drive their clients to Afghan firms with links to the Interior Ministry or other parts of the Government. ASG, one of the biggest Afghan private security companies, is owned by a cousin of President Karzai. because of the recent arrests, and some have decided to stop carrying firearms altogether. That has forced some of their clients to halt operations, because their security regulations insist that they be escorted by armed guards. They are believed to include USAid, the US Government aid agency, and Bearing Point, a consultancy linked to the World Bank that advises the Afghan Finance Ministry.

Mercenary madness: now muzzle new dogs of war
23.02.08. R. Tanner, tribune magazine. Ruth Tanner (War on Want)wants action to curb the activities of mercenary firms making a killing in Iraq

Senator Clinton Cosponsors Legislation to Ban Use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Lawsuit: Company jeopardized security at US embassy in Kabul
24.04.08. Wiredispatch. The two men's federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, charges that their former employer, ArmorGroup North America Inc., lied to the State Department when it bid on the contract to provide embassy security. The lawsuit claims the company misrepresented it capabilities, its experience and how many hours its ...

Police say 17 Afghan security forces jailed for drug smuggling over past year
24.04.08. Canadian press. Gen. Hafezullah Rahjoy, operational commander of the ministry's counternarcotics police, says both soldiers and police officers were among 820 people arrested for drug trafficking since March 2007.

AFGHANISTAN: Bid to Slay Karzai Exposes Security Mess
28.04.08. Anand Gopal, uruknet. Violence levels have increased in Afghanistan in the first quarter of 2008, compared to the first part of 2007, a series of newly-released studies indicate. / On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai escaped an assassination bid while attending a military parade in Kabul. A member of parliament and a 10-year-old child were among the dead. A spokesman for the Taliban said the fighters wanted to show they can infiltrate such high security events. / In the past week, three reports have independently warned of a worsening security situation this year. / A Kabul-based security specialist released a study suggesting that insurgent attacks jumped by almost 40 percent in the first months of 2008 compared to the analogous period last year; a non-governmental organisation (NGO) reported that insurgent attacks against NGOs doubled compared to early 2007; and, a European-based think thank announced that an eventual defeat of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a realistic possibility. / There were 991 "security incidents" -- acts of violence that originated from the Taliban or anti-government elements, in the first 13 weeks of 2008, according to Sami Kovanen, a security specialist with the security firm Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan.

And what has been / is happening in prisons in Afghanistan?

Lawsuit against Military Contractors
05.05.08. The Jurist.
Despite Alert, Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.s
04.05.08. ny times/legitgov. In October 2004, the United States Army issued an urgent bulletin to commanders across Iraq, warning them of a deadly new threat to American soldiers. Because of flawed electrical work by contractors, the bulletin stated, soldiers at American bases in Iraq had received severe electrical shocks, and some had even been electrocuted. ... / American electricians who worked for KBR, the Houston-based defense contractor that is responsible for maintaining American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, said they repeatedly warned company managers and military officials about unsafe electrical work, which was often performed by poorly trained Iraqis and Afghans paid just a few dollars a day. One electrician warned his KBR bosses in his 2005 letter of resignation that unsafe electrical work was a disaster waiting to happen. Another said he witnessed an American soldier in Afghanistan receiving a potentially lethal shock. A third provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning.

What have CACI being doing in Afghanistan?

Abuse Claims Mount Against Pentagon, Contractors
07.05.08. ips. As human rights groups demanded the release of a report on a long-running investigation of the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the unlawful interrogations of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, new torture claims were leveled at two U.S. military contractors by a former Abu Ghraib "ghost" detainee who was wrongly imprisoned and later released without charge.
Death Squads

Afghan death squads 'acting on foreign orders'
18.05.08. Jerome Starkey, Secret Afghan death squads are acting on the orders of foreign spies and killing civilians inside Afghanistan with impunity, a senior UN envoy has claimed. Professor Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on illegal killings, said "foreign intelligence agencies" had used illegal groups of heavily armed Afghans in raids against suspected insurgents.

Update June 2008

US Special Forces counter-insurgency manual FM 31-20-3
18.06.08. Wikileaks. US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual leaked. Summary.
US Army Field Manual FM 31-20-3, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces; 2004 edition. Made US Army doctrine (policy) on 20 September 1994; 219 printed pages. Written at the sensitive but unclassified level. / This sensitive US military counterinsurgency manual could be critically described as "What we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies and guerilla movements world wide, history making. / The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable.

US Army Field Manual FM 31-20-3, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces; 2004 edition. Made US Army doctrine (policy) on 20 September 1994; 219 printed pages. Written at the sensitive but unclassified level.

This sensitive US military counterinsurgency manual could be critically described as "What we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies and guerilla movements world wide, history making.

The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable.
US Army Field Manual FM 31-20-3, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces; 2004 edition. Made US Army doctrine (policy) on 20 September 1994; 219 printed pages. Written at the sensitive but unclassified level.

This sensitive US military counterinsurgency manual could be critically described as "What we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies and guerilla movements world wide, history making.

The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable.

Update July 2008

The Vast and Dangerous Transfer of American Spying to Mercenary Companies
28,07.08. Chalmers Johnson, / alternet. EXCELLENT ESSAY. Johnson considers just how incompetent and unscrupulous a thoroughly privatized intelligence 'community' has turned out to be.

Update September 2008

From Afghanistan to Africa: The Return of U. S. Death Squads
10.09.08. CONN HALLINAN, uruknet. United Nations officials charge that secret "international intelligence services" are conducting raids to kill Afghan civilians, then hiding the perpetuators behind an "impenetrable" wall of bureaucracy.

Afghan Taliban Attack US Security Convoy, at Least 15 Dead
12.09.09. Voice of America. At least three guards were believed to have been abducted following the clash between guards and Taliban militants.IN FARAH province.

Defense Contracts Foretell Military Buildup in Afghanistan
14.09.08. Walter Pincus, Washington Post. The Defense Department is seeking private contractors to carry out a variety of tasks -- such as clearing land mines, building detention facilities and providing fuel -- to assist U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which are set to grow following President Bush's announcement last week that he will expand military operations there.

Brit Shot By Kabul Guard Named
25.10.08. skynews. DHL worker David Giles was killed at the shipping firm's headquarters in Kabul, local police said. / Another man, reported to be South African, also died in the attack. / The two men were director and deputy director for DHL in Afghanistan, officials in Kabul said.
Foreigners killed in Kabul attack
25.10.08. aljazeera. The Afghan, who also died, opened fire outside DHL's offices on Saturday - just 100 metres from the presidential palace in the heart of the city. / Several other Afghans, including army personnel, were also injured in the attack which took place at 8:30 local time (4:30 GMT).

See section 7, Aid, Military Contracts and Contractors in Index on Afghanistan and Pakistan - Murder & Security, Aug/Sept. 08


Democracy and Its Death Squad - Obama's Man in Afghanistan
10.11.08. PETER LEE, Counterpunch / uruknet. To civilian liberals of a hawkish bent, General Petraeus projects the reassuring image of the thinking persons general. Its kind of hard to wrap ones head around the idea that operating death squads might be an integral and perhaps the vital component of the vaunted Petraeus doctrine of counterinsurgency. Or that death squads will probably continue to play a central role in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan under an Obama administration

VIDEO: Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill, Miami Book Fair.

US charges defense contractor with Afghan killing
20.11.08. AP. According to an affidavit, Ayala worked for contractor BAE Systems as security for what the Army calls a Human Terrain Team, in which social scientists and anthropologists are embedded with combat brigades to help soldiers understand local culture.

MARCH 2009

In Afghanistan, US military's `Help Wanted' sign
22.03.09. AP. In recent online postings, the military has asked private security companies to protect traveling convoys and guard U.S. bases in troubled southern provinces such as Helmand and Kandahar. / ,,, as President Barack Obama plans to send more U.S. personnel to Afghanistan to boost security and diplomatic efforts, more contractors are preparing to deploy, too. [worries and concerns reported]

US military solicits mercenaries to protect bases in Afghanistan
23.03.09. AP/ Chicago tribune / legitgov. The military buildup in Afghanistan is stoking a surge of private security contractors [mercenaries] despite a string of deadly shootings in Iraq in recent years. That's leading Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) to question the government's ability to manage the guns for hire. In recent online postings, the military has asked mercenaries to protect convoys and guard U.S. bases in troubled southern provinces such as Helmand and Kandahar. Gates tells Levin private contractors are vital to protecting some U.S. forward bases.

Report: Afghanistan aid program flawed
26.03.08. USA Today/ICH. The multibillion-dollar U.S. aid program in Afghanistan is disjointed, bureaucratic and overly dependent on private Western contractors, according to a report to be released today with implications for President Obama's Central Asia strategy.

US 3rd War: in Pakistan

VIDEO: Afghanistan-Pakistan; Obama unveils new comprehensive strategy today on Afghanistan/Pakistan War

VIDEO: US boot camp for new Afghan security force - 27 March 09 (Afghanistans very own
“death squads”

Obama to Bring More Mercenaries to Afghanistan -- Sound Familiar?
28.03.09. Jim Hightower, Creators Syndicate/ alternet. As Obama begins winding down the war in Iraq, he is building up his own war farther east. . Like Bush, he will depend on private military contractors.

APRIL 2009

Triple Canopy

Obama's Blackwater? Chicago Mercenary Firm Gets Millions for Private "Security" in Israel and Iraq
02.04.09. Jeremy Scahill, alternet. … Blackwater is scheduled to continue to work in Iraq under Obama through its aviation division and in Afghanistan, where it has security and counter-narcotics contracts. .. / In February alone, the Obama administration paid Blackwater nearly $70 million in security contracts. … The use of mercenaries by Hillary Clinton's State Department stands in stark contrast to her co-sponsorship as a Senator of a bill last year that sought to ban the use of such companies in U.S. war zones

Expert group on mercenaries concludes visit to Afghanistan
08.04.09. relief web. The Working Group was particularly interested to learn about the draft law on private security companies introduced to Parliament on 6 April and looks forward to following closely developments in this regard and the speedy adoption of legislation and other measures which would ensure oversight and monitoring by the State of private security companies and their full accountability, and full protection of human rights, including the right of victims to an effective remedy. / … The Working Group will draw up a detailed report on its visit to Afghanistan, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council and reflected in the forthcoming report to the next session of the General Assembly.

Kabul Airport Security Goes to a British Company
08.04.09. pak tribune. The British Global Company will train Afghan border police in the airports and will provide security equipments.


DynCorp Facing State Dept. Investigation
18.04.09. Wash Post. The State Department has ordered DynCorp International to replace the senior managers in charge of a major police training contract in Afghanistan after it launched an investigation into the company's handling of an employee who died of a possible drug overdose, government officials said.

Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, Contractors Fight AIG for Medical Care
18.04.09. allgov. Private security and logistics contractors who come home wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq face an insurance-created nightmare, according to a joint investigation by ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times. Unlike wounded members of the US military, who receive medical care, rehab, and other services from the Defense Department, civilian workers have had to rely on insurance companies paid by the federal government to get the care they need—and, in many instances, they have had to fight for months or even years to get companies like AIG to live up to their contractual obligations. Many of the workers, who totaled 200,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan last year, lost limbs or suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


CACI International receives $31 million contract (06.04.09. Forbes)
= = =

G.I.’s to Fill Civilian Gap to Rebuild Afghanistan
22.04.09. Thom Shanker, NY Times. The Obama administration will likely turn to military personnel to fill hundreds of posts in Afghanistan that had been intended for civilian experts, senior officials said Wednesday. Senior Pentagon and administration officials now acknowledge that many of those new positions will be filled by military personnel -- and by contractors... Not enough civilians are readily available inside the Afghan government, officials said, forcing the administration to turn to the military, Pentagon civilians and private contractors [read mercenaries], at least for the initial deployments.

USEless policy?

Foreign Office to propose self-regulation for private military firms
24.04.09. Guardian. The proposal will be made in a long-awaited consultation paper expected to be released by the Foreign Office today. Ministers are understood to have concluded that self-regulation is the most practical answer to a problem fraught with political and legal difficulties. However, the government's preferred solution was criticised yesterday by human rights groups and questioned by the Red Cross. / Foreign contracts by British firms are estimated to be worth more than £1bn a year. There are about 25 large UK-based private military companies [ mercenaries].

Miliband and the mercenaries
28.04.09. Guardian. The government's refusal to regulate military companies opens the way to the privatisation of war . After a seven-year delay, the British government has finally revealed its plan for dealing with the private military industry [,mercenaries]. . The plan, released to public consultation on Friday afternoon, blows apart the growing consensus that there needs to be strict regulation of private military groups operating overseas. In a dramatic about-face, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, has recommended that mercenary groups be left to sign up to a voluntary code of conduct through which they can police their own operations.


KBR sued in over waste disposal in Iraq, Afghanistan
29.04.09. Guardian. KBR Inc was sued on Tuesday in three states on accusations that the company exposed U.S. soldiers and contractors at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to toxic smoke, court documents showed. … Oilfield services company Halliburton Co, which spun off KBR two years ago, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuits, being brought by law firm Burke O'Neil LLC.

MAY 2009


Kabul's new elite live high on West's largesse
01.05.09. Independent. The dysfunctional reputation of the US aid effort in Afghanistan is politically crucial because Barack Obama, with strong support from Gordon Brown, has promised that a "civilian surge" of non-military experts will be sent to Afghanistan to strengthen its government and turn the tide against the Taliban. These would number up to 600, including agronomists, economists and legal experts, though Washington admitted this week that it was having difficulty recruiting enough people of the right calibre. / Whole districts of Kabul have already been taken over or rebuilt to accommodate Westerners working for aid agencies or embassies. … In addition to the expensive housing the expatriates in Kabul are invariably protected by high-priced security companies and each house is converted into a fortress.


Triple Canopy, ‘Obama’s Blackwater’
04.05.09. ISN. The next private military company to take over Blackwater’s contract in Iraq has an interesting history, operates worldwide and provides more than just personal security.


KBR Connected to Alleged Fraud, Pentagon Auditor Says
05.05.09. Wash Post. KBR, the Army's largest contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, is linked to "the vast majority" of suspected combat-zone fraud cases that have been referred to investigators, as well as a majority of the $13 billion in "questioned" or "unsupported" costs, the Pentagon's top auditor said yesterday.

Commission on Wartime Contracting

= = =
Big Increases for Intelligence and Pentagon “Black” Programs in 2010
13.05.09. Tom Burghardt, Dissident Voice. Continuing along the dark path marked out by his predecessors in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama’s Defense and Intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 2010 will greatly expand the reach of unaccountable agencies–and the corporate grifters whom they serve. / According to Aviation Week, “the Pentagon’s ‘black’ operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside it, are roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan, and 10 per cent of the total.”

The Private Contracting Surge Into Afghanistan
14.05.09. anti-war. . Just like in Iraq, a "shadow army" has been serving alongside American servicemen and women in Afghanistan. So far, it is at least 70,000 strong. Private contractors – now indispensable to the U.S. military as it wages war – are expected to grow and much surpass that number as U.S. troops there double from 35,000 to nearly 70,000 by 2010. / "In short, we will be bringing as many contractors as we are troops – especially KBR [(Cheney’s) Kellogg, Brown and Root] – because they now feed and house the military, and the military has no real choice, because they have let that part of their logistics atrophy," pointed out Dina Rasor, director of the Follow the Money Project and co-author of Betraying our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War. / Despite previous calls by President Barack Obama to reform the flawed and ballooning dependence of the military on private contractors, serious problems have hardly been addressed.

Blackwater (Xe}

4 Americans investigated in Afghan death
16.05.09. AP /anti-war. Four U.S. contractors for the private security company formerly known as Blackwater are accusing the company of holding them against their will in Afghanistan following their involvement in a shooting this month, a lawyer said Saturday. A spokeswoman for the company denied the allegation. / … The nature of the shooting and the allegations made by the lawyer highlight the murky legal world in which private security companies operate in Afghanistan.

Contractors involved in shooting are virtual prisoners, attorney says
16.05.09. CNN. Four security contractors under investigation by the U.S. military for a shooting in Afghanistan are being held against their will by their former employer, their lawyer told CNN on Saturday. / Not true, says Paravant, the employer. It said that while the former employees have been "instructed not to leave the country without the approval and direction of the Department of Defense," they haven't been constrained by the company.

U.S. Contractors Fired at Kabul Car
18.05.09. WSJ. The off-duty contractors were involved in a car accident around 9 p.m. on May 5 and then fired on the approaching vehicle, which they believed to be a threat, according to the U.S. military. At least some of the men, who were former military personnel, had been allegedly drinking alcohol that evening, according to a person familiar with the incident. Off-duty contractors aren’t supposed to carry weapons or drink alcohol.

Contractors say Blackwater supplied forbidden guns
(21.05.09. AP)

US military investigates contractors after Afghan killing (23.05.09. AFP)

Contractors say Blackwater supplied forbidden guns
22.05.09. AP. The security firm formerly known as Blackwater armed some of its workers in Afghanistan despite U.S. military documents that prohibited them from carrying guns, said two former contractors who were fired after they were involved in a fatal shooting in the country. / Blackwater, now known as Xe, has said the company's subsidiary, Paravant, fired the men "for failure to comply with the terms of their contract." McClain showed a letter detailing his termination, and it listed a violation of alcohol policy as the only specific reason for firing.

Contractors in fatal shooting say they're scapegoats (27.05.09. CNN)

G4S Secure Solutions

Security guard dies in Iraq blast
16.05.09. BBC. G4S Secure Solutions paid tribute to Mr Hughes saying he was a "very professional, dedicated, fit and decent" worker. / A spokesperson said he had previously worked for them in Afghanistan.

MPRI / L-3 Communications

US watchdog faults Afghan troop training oversight
19.05.09. Reuters. * Report: US military lacks capacity to oversee contracts; * Watchdog found only one overseer for $404 mln contract. [but] The Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan is responsible for programs worth some $15 billion to develop Afghan security forces so they can take over from U.S. and NATO troops in leading the fight against Taliban militants. / The watchdog did not name the company fulfilling the contract but the command, in a response to the report, said it was MPRI, an Alexandria, Virginia-based firm founded by retired military leaders and owned by L-3 Communications (LLL.N).
= = =
US audit faults security spending in Afghanistan (19.05.09. AP)

Canada: Saladin, Hart, Gardaworld, Optosecurity, SNC Lavalin.

The ongoing outsourcing in Afghanistan
29.05.09. This is not the first time that the Canadian government has decided to hire private security companies in Afghanistan. The British based firm, Saladin Security , has been protecting the Canadian Embassy in Kabul for many years, while many Afghan contractors including warlords, have been hired to protect convoys of Canadian personnel or provide a "security cordon" for high risk situations, such as roadside bombs going off. / n 2007, the Canadian Forces hired the British Firm ‘Hart Security’ to protect Canada’s Strategic Advisory Team. .. Interesting to note is that ‘Hart Security’ previously held a contract to work in South Africa during the apartheid regime, and would assassinate opponents of the government, as well as run special ‘operations’ in Zimbabwe. They also lay the claim of being the largest private security company in the south of Iraq, a country they have also been operating in since 2003. … information about Gardaworld and Optosecurity Inc. and SNC Lavalin (links given).

JUNE 2009

Obama; Man of Peace?

Obama Has 250,000 'Contractors' Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and is Increasing the Use of Mercenaries
01.06.09. Jeremy Scahill, alternet. Newly released Pentagon statistics show that in both Iraq and Afghanistan the number of armed contractors is rising. According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. / Overall, contractors (armed and unarmed) now make up approximately 50% of the “total force in Centcom AOR [Area of Responsibility].” This means there are a whopping 242,657 contractors working on these two U.S. wars. These statistics come from two reports just released by Gary J. Motsek, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support): “Contractor Support of U.S. Operations in USCENTCOM AOR, IRAQ, and Afghanistan and “Operational Contract Support, ‘State of the Union.’” … Both Pentagon reports can be downloaded here.


Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2009 Year-End Financial BS
03.06.09. Trading Markets. Results: Diluted earnings per share increased to $1.22, or 45.2%, year-over-year. / Fiscal year 2009 Adjusted EBITDA was $221.3 million, an increase of $46.5 million over fiscal year 2008 --Fiscal year 2009 DSO was 60 days resulting in a cash balance of $200.2 million

Fiscal Year 2010 Guidance
- Revenue $3,250 to $3,450 million
- EBITDA $230 to $240 million
- Diluted earnings per share $1.42 to $1.54

Which Security Company?

Suicide bombing kills 5 guards of private Afghan company
03.06.09. Xinhuanet. This attack, he added, occurred in the border town of Spin Boldak linking Kandahar to southwest Balouchistan province of Pakistan. / However, Hakeem [chief of Border police in the region] failed to identify the name of the local firm which provides security to the logistic convoys of the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

10 Afghan security guards killed in bomb blasts
03.06.09. AP. The convoy in eastern Pakitia province was initially hit by a blast that killed one security guard on Tuesday, said police chief Azizullah Wardak of the province. / A second improvised explosive device then ripped through the convoy and killed nine guards in another vehicle in Paktia's Chamkani district, Wardak said. / The Afghan guards were based with U.S. troops in the area. It was unclear what security company they were working for, or if they were traveling with American forces.

Armorgroup North America

Senate panel looking at embassy security contract
04.06.09. fort mill times. Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to know if U.S. Embassy employees in Afghanistan were put in danger because of the mismanagement of contracts with a private security company. / … McCaskill's announcement comes after two former security contractors sued the company claiming they were fired for questioning security problems at the Kabul embassy.

Senators Press State Dept. on Embassy Security
10.06.09. Washington Post. Lawmakers grilled representatives of the State Department and a private security firm today on the details and administration of a contract to provide protective services at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, suggesting that the company’s deficiencies in the past two years may have placed the compound at risk of an attack. / Deputy Assistant Secretary of State William H. Moser told a Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight that the State Department later this month will renew its agreement with ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), despite lingering concerns with weapons shortages, the company’s training programs and the poor English language skills of some guards, mostly Nepalese ghurkas. / … Several former AGNA employees have also questioned the company’s performance in the past. In 2007, James Sauer and Peter Martino alerted State Department and company officials to problems with embassy protection. They have since filed a wrongful termination suit, alleging they were dismissed for raising concerns.

= = =
Bill Moyers Interviews Jeremy Scahill
05.06.09. PBS. I think what we're seeing, under President Barack Obama, is sort of old wine in a new bottle. Obama is sending one message to the world, but the reality on the ground, particularly when it comes to private military contractors, is that the status quo remains from the Bush era. Right now there are 250 thousand contractors fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's about 50 percent of the total US fighting force. Which is very similar to what it was under Bush. In Iraq, President Obama has 130 thousand contractors. And we just saw a 23 percent increase in the number of armed contractors in Iraq. In Afghanistan there's been a 29 percent increase in armed contractors. So the radical privatization of war continues unabated under Barack Obama. / … I've been critical of Obama's position on this because I think that he accepts what I think is a fundamental lie. That we should have a system where corporations are allowed to benefit off of warfare. [More on Scahill’s thoughts about Iraq and prison in Bagram, Afghanistan] / The fact is that I think most Americans are not aware that their dollars being spent in Afghanistan are, in fact, going to for-profit corporations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These are companies that are simultaneously working for profit and for the U.S. government. That is the intricate linking of corporate profits to an escalation of war that President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address. / … I feel like many Democrats have had their spines surgically removed these days, as have a lot of journalists. The fact is that this man is governing over a policy that is killing a tremendous number of civilians. / … I think that what we're doing in Afghanistan increases the likelihood that there's going to be another attack… because we're killing innocent civilians regularly…

I think that what we have seen happen, as a result of this incredible reliance on private military contractors, is that the United States has created a new system for waging war. Where you no longer have to depend exclusively on your own citizens to sign up for the military and say, "I believe in this war, so I'm willing to sign up and risk my life for it." You turn the entire world into your recruiting ground. You intricately link corporate profits to an escalation of warfare and make it profitable for companies to participate in your wars. In the process of doing that you undermine U.S. democratic processes. And you also violate the sovereignty of other nations, 'cause you're making their citizens in combatants in a war to which their country is not a party. I feel that the end game of all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation state apparatus in the world. And it could be replaced by a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies. To me, that would be a devastating development. But it's on. It's happening on a micro level. And I fear it will start to happen on a much bigger scale.


EODT to support security in Afghanistan
05.06.09. UPI. Under the $99.9 million deal, EODT will provide security services in Task Force Duke's Camp Fenty in Eastern Afghanistan with entry point and guard tower support services to prevent access from unauthorized individuals.

Angar Security Company

Taliban insurgents kill 3 guards of Afghan private company in West
06.06.09. xinhuanet. "Militants attacked a convoy of Angar private security company on Zaranj-Dilaram road at 11:00 a.m. today leaving three guards of the company dead," Azad said. / This is the second attack on the above company over the past two weeks. Previous attack against Angar Security Company, which provides security to logistic convoys of U.S.-led forces, left nine guards dead in the western region two weeks ago.


Panel finds lax oversight of wartime contracting
08.06.09. AP. The Defense Department has failed to provide adequate oversight over tens of billions of dollars in contracts to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says a new report by an independent commission investigating waste and fraud in wartime spending. / U.S. reliance on private sector employees has grown to "unprecedented proportions," yet the government has no central database of who all these contractors are, what they do or how much they're paid, the bipartisan commission found. / In its first report to Congress, the Wartime Contracting Commission presents a bleak assessment of how taxpayer dollars have been spent since 2001. The 111-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, documents poor management, weak oversight, and a failure to learn from past mistakes as recurring themes in wartime contracting.

'The Responsible Left': Funding Obama's Expanding Wars
18.06.09. Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports / ICH. The cowardly Democrats who checked their spines at the door to Congress when they voted Tuesday try to defend their flip-flop on war funding. Frankly, it is embarrassing.

REPORT: At What Cost?
Commission on Wartime Contracting: Contingency Contracting In Iraq and Afghanistan: Interim Report to Congress

A 'Perfect Storm for Disaster' Brewing With Washington's 'Unprecedented' Shadow Army
15.06.09. Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports, Alternet. As troops and private contractors surge in Afghanistan, a new report reveals a system rife with abuse.

Aegis Defense Services

Contractor oversees security guards in Afghanistan
10.06.09. AP. A major security contractor is running an office overseeing armed guards in Afghanistan, a situation at odds with the Pentagon's claim that military officers would be in charge of such sensitive work. / A new report on wartime spending to be made public Wednesday at a congressional hearing says the contractor, Aegis Defense Services, has operated with limited U.S. government supervision. / The London-based Aegis was hired in January under a nearly $1 million deal to support the Armed Contractor Oversight Directorate. The directorate, along with a similar one in Iraq, were formed in the wake of deadly shootings involving private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Mercenaries Set Off for Afghanistan
13.06.09. Online news, pk. One incident drew attention to their presence. Returning from dinner on May 5, after an automobile accident, four paramilitaries working for an American company unheard of up until then, Paravant, machine-gunned an Afghan car, leaving one person dead and two wounded. The lawyer for the paramilitaries asserts that they were confronted with an insurgent attack, although the police investigation proved that the passengers in the vehicle were unarmed merchants. As in Iraq, as in other incidents in Afghanistan, justice will not be done: the men fled to the United States. / However, the episode did reveal that Paravant, which has a contract to train the Afghan police, is a discreet subsidiary of Blackwater,/ .. n Afghanistan, Blackwater-Xe has a visible presence with Presidential Air, which effects helicopter operations. The contract for protection of State Department diplomats has just been consigned to the British company Aegis. But the May 5 incident reveals that Blackwater-Xe profits from other contracts, like Paravant’s. The training contract had originally been awarded to Raytheon, which signed a subcontract with Paravant. While Blackwater is the target of investigations in the United States by Congress and the Pentagon, Erik Prince’s company is still supported by the administration, which entrusts it with sensitive missions.

Tundra Strategies

Private security called a boon to Canadian bases in Afghanistan
18.06.09. Canadian press. Tundra, one of four private companies working for Canada, runs an Afghanistan-based operation that hires and trains mostly Afghans as guards, but deploys them as far from their home regions as possible in order to avoid conflicts of interest. / … “it's cheaper than having Canadian soldiers do the same job and frees them up to concentrate on other aspects of the mission, he added. "So it's a win-win situation." / … In one case last fall, Master Cpl. Josh Roberts was killed when his unit came under fire from both Taliban militants and possibly guards belonging to Compass Security ISS, which was escorting an aid convoy through Zhari district, west of Kandahar. A military police investigation concluded Roberts died from a Taliban bullet, a conclusion his family has questioned. / … Ottawa has just signed an international protocol governing the use of private security companies in countries like Afghanistan. For former soldiers, the job is both lucrative and a way of utilizing skills learned during a lifetime in the military. They come from Canada, the U.S., South Africa and several other countries, drawn by the money and adventure. Earnings run to about US$1,000 a day depending on the job, largely tax-free, and all expenses are paid. [An Afghan trainee is paid approximately $100 a month ]

Northern Reconstruction Organization & Bagram highlighted

Two Military Officials Plead Guilty to Bribery, Fraud and Conspiracy Related to Defense Contracts in Afghanistan
-, US Dept of Justice.

UK taxes

Taxpayers hit by £150m cost of mercenaries
21.06.09. While Iraq was once at the heart of a boom for the controversial and still expanding industry, Foreign Office figures show that the conflict in Afghanistan has created the biggest source of income for private security companies funded by the British taxpayer.

and in Iraq

U.S. Seeks New Roles as Troops Prepare Exit From Iraqi Cities
29.06.09. Bloomberg. Iraqi government officials will mark tomorrow’s long-planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from their cities by taking the day off, decorating cars with flowers and broadcasting patriotic music. After the celebration comes a sobering responsibility. / U.S. officers say that the Iraqis will be in exclusive control of major combat in urban areas, including the flashpoints of Baghdad, Mosul and Baquba, for the first time since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. U.S. forces will ring volatile cities to prevent rebel infiltration, provide intelligence and fight if Iraqis request. / After June 30, the Iraqis “will be in control inside the cities and we will work with them outside to interdict the insurgents,” Caslen said. “This can be a model way to bring security for all Iraq.” / … The U.S. appears eager to keep a low profile to cement an impression that the Iraqis control their own destiny.

Karzai: Afghan guards employed by US killed police (29.06.09. Noor Khan, magic valley)

JULY 2009

Paravant LLC

Senate Investigates Blackwater Subsidiary
01.07.09. CBS. The Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating the private security firm Paravant LLC which provides contracted services to the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. Paravant is a subsidiary of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, owned by Erik D. Prince, president of The Prince Group. / Steven McClain and Justin Cannon, two former Paravant security personnel stationed in Afghanistan, were involved in a fatal shooting incident that left one Afghan civilian dead and two others wounded in Kabul on May 5, 2009.

DynCorp / Fluor

DynCorp, Fluor Win Afghan Support Work Worth Up to $7.5 Billion
07.07.09. Bloomberg. DynCorp International Inc. and Fluor Corp. have been picked over KBR Inc. for five-year contracts worth as much as $7.5 billion for each company, if all options are exercised, to support the U.S. troop build-up in Afghanistan, according to an Army official.
= = =
08.07.09. Aunohita Mojumdar, Eurasia net. A recent shootout in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar that left 10 people dead is helping to focus attention on the issue of private security companies, and the existing lack of accountability concerning their activities.

Afghan officials to shut the security companies
12.07.09. la specula. Afghan authorities urge to shut down the private security companies in Afghanistan. The Afghan Interior Ministry says that they cannot tolerate the private companies in Afghanistan anymore. / The decision was taken after the guards of private security company killed the police commander of Kandahar. Last week, around 50 guards of a private company attacked the attorney office in Kandahar province to release a prisoner. / … The U.S. troops in Kabul said they wouldn’t conduct any investigation regarding the gunfire. / … The U.S. troops are denied to share comment about the issue. It seems that private security companies are running a huge mafia in Afghanistan and this mafia threat Afghanistan. Afghan government have always been tried to shut down the private companies, but the influence and ties of these companies with western countries and U.S. troops, failed to do it.

Private contractors replacing troops in Iraq, Afghanistan
15.07.09. examiner. If you thought the end of American intervention in foreign wars was nearing, think again. President Obama has been replacing soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with private contractors-some 250,000 are currently deployed overseas-including Black Water (operating under another alias.) VIDEO.

VIDEO: Private contractors replacing American troops in both wars
16.07.09. Real History Channel/ uruknet. A report says that Iraq and Afghanistan are being left to mercenaries, as the number of private contractors in both countries has risen by over a quarter - all with the approval of the White House. It has been revealed the number of private security contractors working for the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan has greatly increased by up to 30% since President Obama came to office. While troops are being pulled out, a Pentagon report says that the number of contractors working for the US Defense Department has increased dramatically.--


EODT Awarded Second Task Order Under $99.9M Security Contract in Afghanistan
16.07.09. prnewswire. The new contract, valued at $1.4 million, is part of a $99.9 million ID/IQ contract award to provide security services within the Task Force Duke Area of Operations in Eastern Afghanistan.



Blackwater should be blacklisted
12.08.09. Linda Heard, uruknet. The notorious private security company Blackwater, which now calls itself Xe Services, has become the center of a growing storm. In sworn statements filed in a US federal court on Aug. 3, two former employees allege that the company’s founder and owner Erik Prince either murdered or arranged the murder of witnesses who were cooperating with federal investigators./ For fear of ending up in the same boat, the men’s identities have been concealed, so statements were made in the names of John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. The story that was initially broken by author and journalist Jeremy Scahill in The Nation has been picked up by most mainstream television networks and newspapers and is being intensely debated.

Deadly contractor incident sours Afghans
13.08.09. LA Times. Four men with the U.S. firm once known as Blackwater are said to be under investigation in the deaths of two Afghans. A U.S. report found serious fault with private security firms in Afghanistan.

Blackwater: More Help Than We Thought?

23.08.09. video, newsy. Blackwater, a private security company, worked with the CIA to help assassinate terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush Administration kept the contract from Congress. So what does it all mean?

Death Squad Blackwater Accused of Creating 'Killing Program'
23.08.09. SPIEGEL / uruknet. A memo obtained by SPIEGEL indicates that cooperation between the CIA and private security firm Blackwater was deeper than previously known. SPIEGEL has uncovered further details about a plan to set up squads for targeted killings of suspected al-Qaida leadership in Afghanistan...

Flushing Blackwater
27.08.09. Jeremy Scahill, The Nation / uruknet. Blackwater, the private mercenary company owned by Erik Prince, has been thrust back into the spotlight by a series of stunning revelations about its role in covert US programs. Since at least 2002, Blackwater has worked for the CIA in Afghanistan and Pakistan on "black" contracts. On August 19, the New York Times revealed that the company was, in fact, a central part of a secret CIA assassination program that Dick Cheney allegedly ordered concealed from Congress. The paper then reported that Blackwater remains a key player in the widening air war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it arms drone aircraft. These disclosures follow allegations--made under oath by former Blackwater employees--that Prince murdered or facilitated the murder of potential government informants and that he "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."

In addition, Blackwater is being investigated by the Justice Department for possible crimes ranging from weapons smuggling to manslaughter and by the IRS for possible tax evasion. It is being sued in federal courts by scores of Iraqi civilians for alleged war crimes and extrajudicial killings. Two of its men have pleaded guilty to weapons-smuggling charges; another pleaded guilty to the unprovoked manslaughter of an Iraqi civilian, and five others have been indicted on similar counts. The US military is investigating Blackwater's killing of civilians in Afghanistan in May, and reports are emerging that the company may be implicated in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

And yet, despite these black marks, the Obama administration continues to keep Blackwater on the government's payroll.

We Need a Special Prosecutor for Blackwater and Other CIA "Contractors"
30.08.09. Jeremy Scahill, rebel reports / uruknet. Some parts of Blackwater’s clandestine work for the CIA have begun to leak out from behind the iron curtain of secrecy. The company’s role in the secret assassination program and its continued involvement in the CIA drone attacks that occur regularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan have become front page material in the Washington Post and New York Times. There is much more to this story than has been reported publicly and details will continue to emerge, particularly about Blackwater’s aviation division(s). Now we learn (unsurprisingly) that Blackwater offered "foreign" operatives to work on the CIA assassination program...


Afghanistan "Contractors" Outnumber Troops
24.08.09. WSJ. The number of military contractors in Afghanistan rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point. As the military force in Afghanistan grows further, to a planned 68,000 by the end of the year, the Defense Department expects the ranks of contractors to increase more.

U.S. Increasing Use of Private Contractors in War Zone
25.08.09. Jeremy Scahill, uruknet. The Department of Defense has released an updated census of Pentagon contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and CENTCOM’s area of operations. The overall number of contractors in the third quarter of 2009 increased slightly from 243,000 to 244,000, which means that private forces continue to constitute about half of the total US force deployed in these two wars. / Two other statistics jump out. First, in Iraq, the DoD reports that there was "a 19 % increase (from 10,743 to 13,232) of armed DoD PSCs in Iraq compared to the 2nd quarter FY 2009 census." The DoD says the "increase can be attributed to an increased need for PSCs to provide security as the military begins to drawdown forces and to our continued improved ability to account for subcontractors who are providing security services." In other words, less soldiers means more mercenaries in Iraq. / Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, there continue to be more private contractors than US soldiers. There was "a 20% increase (from 4,111 to 5,165) of armed DoD PSCs in Afghanistan compared to the 1st quarter FY 2009 census," according to the DoD. That increase is, predictably, linked to the overall "build up of forces" in Afghanistan.


Private military and security companies wanted for hire by CIA as "hitmen"?
27.08.09. Amnesty/ Huff post. the U.S. government should not keep pushing aside the questions of how to effectively regulate and where to set the limits on using PMSCs -- especially with the increased number of contractors flooding into Afghanistan in the wake of the planned surge in troops. The longer it takes for the U.S. government to finally take a position and answer these questions, the longer PMSCs operate in a legal limbo, in which they may commit human rights abuses with impunity.


ArmorGroup North America

Animal House in Afghanistan
01.09.09. Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones. Drunken brawls, prostitutes, hazing and humiliation, taking vodka shots out of buttcracks-- no, the perpetrators of these Animal House-like antics aren't some depraved frat brothers. They are the private security contractors guarding Camp Sullivan, otherwise known as the US Embassy in Kabul. These allegations, and many more, are contained in a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday by the Project on Government Oversight, which has been investigating the embassy security contract held by ArmorGroup North America (a subsidiary of Wackenhut, which is in turn owned by the security behemoth G4S)... Nevertheless, the government opted to extend the company's 5-year, $189 million contract for another year.

POGO Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding U.S. Embassy in Kabul
01.09.09. POGO / uruknet. photo, video, extensive footnotes

02.09.09. Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones.

Report Details Misbehavior by Kabul Embassy Guards
02.09.09. Wash Post. Private security contractors who guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul have engaged in lewd behavior and hazed subordinates, demoralizing the undermanned force and posing a "significant threat" to security at a time when the Taliban is intensifying attacks in the Afghan capital, according to an investigation released Tuesday by an independent watchdog group.

Kabul U.S. Embassy Guard: Sexual Deviancy Required for Promotion
02.09.09. ABC. Private security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were pressured to participate in naked pool parties and perform sex acts to gain promotions or assignment to preferable shifts, according to one of 12 guards who have gone public with their complaints.

Private guards at US embassy 'running rampant'

03.09.09. Independent. The US State Department is set to investigate allegations of a breakdown in discipline among privately-contracted mercenaries at the American embassy in Afghanistan that created a "Lord of the Flies" environment of humiliation and coercion. The working culture featured lurid locker room-style hazing, semi-naked, vodka-fuelled parties and the humiliation or even firing of those who refused to join in. A charitable government oversight group described the alleged violations in a report delivered to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The Project on Government Oversight also handed over emails, videos, photographs and other testimony from other guards.

Embassy guards 'dress as Afghans'
04.09.09. Ken Sengupta, Independent. Private security contractors guarding America's embassy in Kabul dressed as mujahedin fighters and went out on unauthorised night-time military operations in the Afghan capital, according to reports being investigated by the US State Department.

Naked Pool Parties, Alleged Sex Acts at Kabul U.S. Embassy Force Out 10 Guards

04.09.09. ABC. Eight Fired, Two Resign After "Frat Party Gone Bad" Exposed. ... The guard, a U.S. military veteran, said top supervisors at Armor Group were not only aware of the "deviant sexual acts" but helped to organize them.

After Scandal, State Dept. Cleaning House in Kabul
05.09.09. Washington Post. The State Department has demanded the replacement of the entire management team of its security contractor at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and requested the removal of all personnel involved in a scandal in which private guards allegedly engaged in lewd behavior and drunken brawls, officials said Friday.

Whistleblower sues Afghanistan security contractor
11.09.09. CNN. A former manager for the private contractor that provides guards for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan said he tried to blow the whistle more than a year ago about inadequate staffing and improper behavior by guards, including going to brothels and sex trafficking./ James Gordon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Thursday claiming he was forced from his job illegally in February 2008 by ArmorGroup, North America (AGNA) -- a security contractor owned by Wackenhut Services Inc.

Company Kept Kabul Security Contract Despite Record
12.09.09. NY Times. ... The troubles with the ArmorGroup contract, and the State Department’s frustrated dealings with the company over two years and through two administrations, illustrate how the government has become dependent on the private security companies that work in war zones, and has struggled to manage companies that themselves are sometimes loosely run and do not always play by the government’s rules. ... / “It’s expensive for the State Department to withdraw a contract from one company, rebid the project and award it to a new one,” said Janet Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who represents one of the ArmorGroup whistleblowers. “So businesses know that once they get a contract, State may ding them around a little bit, but it’s not going to fire them.”

Embassy guard photos evoke Abu Ghraib comparison
14.09.09. AP. A member of a federal commission investigating wartime spending said Monday that photos showing private security guards in various stages of nudity at drunken parties may be as damaging to U.S. interests in Afghanistan as images of detainee mistreatment at Abu Ghraib were in Iraq. / Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller, made the comment at a hearing Monday held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting on allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct by employees of ArmorGroup North America, the company hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Sworn testimony by ArmorGroup executive challenged
19.09.09. AP. A top executive of the private security contractor hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was informed in July 2008 of alleged illegal and immoral conduct by guards, attorneys for a whistleblower suing the company said Friday. The claim contradicts the sworn testimony of Samuel Brinkley, a vice president for Wackenhut Services, the owner of ArmorGroup North America. Brinkley told the Commission on Wartime Contracting under oath on Monday that he and other corporate officials outside of Afghanistan didn't know until a few weeks ago of problems that reportedly included lurid parties and ArmorGroup employees frequenting brothels in Kabul. But in a 10-page letter to the commission, the attorneys say their client, James Gordon, told Brinkley during a meeting on July 15, 2008, of alleged guard misconduct.

& into October

Sex and security in Afghanistan
06.10.09. David Isenberg, Asia Times / uruknet. It took a lawsuit filed on September 9 by James Gordon, a former ArmorGroup director of operations, and subsequent whistleblower, against ArmorGroup North America and associated defendants - ArmorGroup International (AGI), Wackenhut Services Inc (WSI), and various management individuals - to bring details to light. Among other things he charges that AG: # Allowed AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and shutting down the plaintiff's efforts to investigate and put a stop to these violations. # Deliberately withholding documents relating to violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act allegedly committed by AGNA's program manager and other AGNA employees when responding to a document demand from US Congressman Henry Waxman on behalf of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Obama Increase

U.S. to boost combat force in Afghanistan

02.09.09. Julian Barnes, LA Times. U.S. officials are planning to add as many as 14,000 combat troops to the American force in Afghanistan by sending home support units and replacing them with "trigger-pullers," Defense officials say. / The move would beef up the combat force in the country without increasing the overall number of U.S. troops, a contentious issue as public support for the war slips. But many of the noncombat jobs are likely be filled by private contractors, who have proved to be a source of controversy in Iraq and a growing issue in Afghanistan. / The plan represents a key step in the Obama administration's drive to counter Taliban gains and demonstrate progress [sic] in the war nearly eight years after it began.

Funding Probe

US probes USAID funds in Afghanistan
04.09.09. AP. The State Department said Thursday that an investigation has begun into whether U.S. development funding for Afghanistan is being diverted to local warlords and extremists following allegations that road and bridge contractors were paying "protection" money to the Taliban.


Where Is the Defund Blackwater Act?
26.09.09. Jeremy Scahill, anti-war. Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bi-partisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009 which has now passed the House and Senate. As Ryan Grim at Huffington Post has pointed out, the legislation "could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex:" / According to the Project on Oversight and Government Reform, this legislation could potentially eliminate a virtual Who’s Who of war contractors including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and KBR to other corporations such as AT&T, FedEx and Dell. / Perhaps one of the most jarring comparisons here is the fact that ACORN is now being attacked while the Obama administration continues to contract with Blackwater, the favorite mercenary company of the Bush administration, which is headed by Erik Prince,/ It [Blackwater] holds a $210 million State Department "security" contract in Afghanistan that runs through 2011 and another multi-million dollar contract with the Defense Department for "training" in Kabul. All of this is on top of Blackwater’s clandestine work for the CIA, including continued work on the drone bombing campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Civilian Contractor Toll in Iraq and Afghanistan Ignored by Defense Department
10.09.09. T. Christian Miller, uruknet. As the war in Afghanistan entered its ninth year, the Labor Department recently released new figures for the number of civilian contract workers who have died in war zones since 9/11. Although acknowledged as incomplete, the figures show that at least 1,688 civilians have died and more than 37,000 have reported injuries while working for U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. / More than 5,200 soldiers have died in the two war zones, meaning that one civilian contractor has died for every three soldiers - a ratio that reflects the unprecedented degree to which the Pentagon has outsourced the work of war. Civilian contractors make up about half the total U.S. forces in the war zones and they have been deployed on the front lines far more than any previous U.S. conflict. Iraq and Afghanistan are the most outsourced wars in U.S. history.

Regulate private military firms to stem rights abuses, ministers told
20.10.09. Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. The government came under pressure today to speed up its decision on how to regulate the burgeoning private military industry, boosted by conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and recently beset by a number of scandals. / "The government has had seven years to think about it," Andy Bearpark, director general of the British Association of Private Security Companies, told its annual conference in London. The key issue, he said, was how to impose standards on the industry./ ... The government has spent £148m on contracts with private military and security companies in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last three years.


Profile of DynCorp
12.09.09. pak. spectator / twitter. DynCorp does not like to be compared to controversial contractors such as Blackwater and KBR, but the company does exactly what they do. It performs a wide range of functions for U.S. government agencies, including security and support services in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. While DynCorp is not quite as well known as those other private military companies, it has had its share of scandals.

John Burns Q and A: Private Military Contractors (22.10.09. NY Times)


NATO forces turn to warlords
31.10.09. Gareth Porter, Asia Times. … United States and other NATO military contingents operating in the provinces of Afghanistan's predominantly Pashtun south and east have been hiring private militias controlled by Afghan warlords, according to these sources, to provide security for their forward operating bases, other bases and to guard convoys./ General Stanley McChrystal, the US's chief in Afghanistan, has acknowledged that US and NATO ties with warlords have been a cause of popular Afghan alienation from foreign military forces. But the policy is not likely to be reversed anytime soon, because US and NATO officials still have no alternative to the security services the warlords provide.



Scahill: Obama may be afraid of Blackwater
11.11.09. Jeremy Scahill, Raw Story / ICH. "You know who's guarding Hillary Clinton in Afghanistan right now? Blackwater," Scahill told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday night. "You know who guards members of Congress? Blackwater. They have half a billion dollars in contracts in Afghanistan right now.


KBR improperly billed for security guards, senator says
11.11.09. chron com / ICH. KBR, the largest contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, improperly billed the Pentagon and was paid about $103 million for armed security guard services, a U.S. senator says.

Iraq: Security Companies and Training Camps . S. Meyer, Index Research (17.05.06)

Security Company Death Squads Timeline . S. Meyer, Index Research (25.09.07)


Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the UK

The url to Security Companies in Afghanistan is:

The smaller url is:


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