Karzai threatens to shut down private security firms within four months

Kabul, Aug 17 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has threatened to close down all private security firms within the country in four months.

"Within four months, all private security companies will be disbanded," The Globe and Mail quoted Karzai's spokesman, Waheed Omar, as saying.

Karzai has maintained that private security companies are incompetent, perpetuate killings and are guilty of widespread corruption in the country.

The decision could create chaos across the war-ravaged country, the paper states.

Although Western diplomats have rendered support for Karzai's long-term goal of making the Afghan police and military responsible for security, many doubt that the four-month timetable is feasible.

"As we stand here, it's hard to envision where the Afghan government can assume all of the ... security responsibility in Afghanistan four months from now. We understand and agree with his long-term goal," Philip Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said.

Nearly 30,000 armed men are currently employed by more than 50 registered firms.

Some are apparently little more than locally engaged mercenaries running shakedowns at checkpoints, while others provide sophisticated protection crucial to diplomatic and international aid agencies.

Scores of unregistered firms are also present, especially in Kandahar and the rest of the war-torn south.

In November last year, Karzai had vowed to rid the country of all private militias and security firms within two years. (ANI)

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