Kabul: The Afghan government said on Tuesday it
had shut dozens of private security companies, having watered
down a controversial scheme that initially planned to disband
all such firms within the country.
In August, President Hamid Karzai ordered the dissolution
of all private security companies, triggering an outcry from
the US-led NATO force, diplomatic missions and aid
organisations that depend on the firms for their protection.
Under pressure from his Western allies and in a major
setback to his plans, Karzai in October allowed dozens of
"legal" firms to operate, albeit under tougher regulations.
On December 6, interior ministry adviser Abdul Manan
Farahi said 57 firms declared "illegal" were in the process of
"We have dissolved all illegal private security
companies. Now we can say that no illegal private security
company exists in Afghanistan," the adviser said today.
Farahi said more than 3,000 personnel had been disbanded
and weapons confiscated, but refused to give details.
According to officials, many of the companies were small
and barely operated at all, formed by Afghans in the hope of
getting contracts from Western troops.