Washington: Two ex-employees of a security firm owned by the company formerly known as Blackwater were expected to enter pleas tomorrow in response to charges of killing two Afghans in Kabul in May 2009.
The two -- Justin Cannon and Christopher Drotleff – were to be arraigned in Norfolk, Virginia before US District Judge Robert Doumar in a case that spotlights recurring problems with private security firms in war zones.
The Afghan government announced today that it was giving security firms operating there four months to dissolve, a measure that would create huge problems for military and other international entities that depend on the estimated 40,000 employees of private security contractors.
Cannon and Drotleff were employed by Paravent, an affiliate of Xe, formerly Blackwater, which gained notoriety in Iraq after guards protecting a convoy opened fire in a busy Baghdad square in September 2007, killing as many as 17 civilians.
The latest case involves a shooting May 5, 2009 at the scene of a traffic accident in Kabul in which the two Paravent guards are alleged to have opened fire with an AK-47 and a 9mm pistol, killing two people and wounding one.
The guards had left their base without permission and were escorting a vehicle carrying three interpreters to a taxi stand when there was an accident.