Afghan Govt. accuses US linked private security firms of committing "major offences"

Kabul, Jan 23 (ANI): The Afghan government has reportedly listed a number of prominent private security companies, including some that work with the U.S. government, accusing them of committing "major offences."

A list compiled by Afghan officials cites 16 companies, including several American and British firms, for unspecified serious violations and seven others for having links to high-ranking Afghan officials, the Washington Post reports.

U.S. officials are now sceptical that the move would hasten their departure from Afghanistan.

The paper quoted a senior U.S. official as saying that the decision would affect firms that provide about 800 guards for the U.S. Agency for International Development projects, and about 3,000 who work on military construction projects for the coalition.

"We're wringing our hands over this. We're waiting to hear which companies will get disbandment notices and when they will have to disband," he said.

Triple Canopy, based in Reston, Washington-based Blue Hackle, and the British firm G4S, the parent company of ArmorGroup North America that provides security for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, are among those listed as major offenders.

The list also includes British companies-Global Strategies Group, which guards the Kabul airport, and Control Risks and Aegis.

The list included nine firms deemed "medium" offenders, 11 with "minor" offenses and nine, including Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, with no offenses detected.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is yet to approve the list or indicate whether these companies face expulsion, a senior Afghan official said.

The development has hightened the battle over the fate of private security companies in Afghanistan. For the past six months, Karzai has sought to push out the firms and replace them with government guards.

U.S. officials and other foreign diplomats, who generally support Karzai's intentions, have tried to negotiate concessions to keep private guards at their embassies and military bases, as well as guard foreign-funded development projects, including roads and power plants. (ANI)

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