Two Britons detained in Afghanistan: Official

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 12:34

Kabul: Two British nationals have been
detained in the Afghan capital in possession of dozens of
AK-47 assault rifles with the serial numbers erased, a
government official said on Wednesday.

"Two British nationals along with their two Afghan
colleagues, a driver and a interpreter, were today detained
carrying 30 AKs. The weapons` registration numbers were
removed from them," the official, who requested anonymity as
he was not authorised to speak to the media, said.

Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi confirmed that
four people had been detained while carrying weapons. He would
not disclose their nationality and said the case was under
investigation.

The government official said the Britons
were arrested in an area of Kabul where foreign forces have
bases and facilities.

The British embassy said it was "aware of reports that
British nationals may have been detained in Kabul".

"Our consular officials in Kabul are in touch with the
relevant Afghan police authorities to seek further
information," a spokesman said.

Afghanistan is home to thousands of foreign private
security personnel providing services for foreign troops,
diplomatic missions and aid organisations.

A US congressional report last year found that the number
of private security personnel working for the US military in
Afghanistan rose to 18,919 at the end of 2010, the highest
level used in any conflict by the United States.

Around 95 per cent of them were Afghans, it added.
But relations with the authorities have deteriorated.

President Hamid Karzai accuses the firms of breaking the law
and taking business away from Afghans.

Perceptions that those working for security firms are
little more than gun-toting mercenaries, roaming the
countryside with impunity, have made them deeply unpopular
among Afghans.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 12:34

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