Blackwater agents accused of taking 500 assault rifles meant for Afghan police

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Washington, Feb. 25 (ANI): Agents of America's private security firm, Blackwater, took more than 500 assault rifles that were intended for the Afghan police force and routinely carried weapons without permission, a hearing has been told.

During a hearing of the Senate armed services committee, it also emerged that to shed its disrepute and win contracting business in Afghanistan, Blackwater created a shell company called 'Paravant.'

"They made representations here that are wildly false. Everyone knew in the field it was Blackwater trying to get rid of a negative name," The Guardian quoted Senator Carl Levin, as saying.

However, Steven Ograyensek, a US army contracting officer who testified, said: "There is no indication that they were part of Blackwater."

Blackwater has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for its employees' involvement in a 2007 Baghdad shooting in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed, and other allegations.

The company has since sought to rebrand itself as Xe. And in order to win the training contract in Afghanistan, created a firm called Paravant.

Paravant represented itself as a separate company, even as the training personnel were aware they had been hired by Blackwater, according to witnesses and senators.

Former Paravant official Brian McCracken acknowledged the company's trainers were carrying weapons without authorisation. (ANI)

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