Private United States and British security firms in Afghanistan are violating tax and weapons laws and employing thousands more guards than allowed, an investigation by the Afghan government has concluded. Company representatives disputed the claims and argue that the allegations are a ploy to replace the firms with government guards, The Washington Post reported
The probe of 16 firms that provide security for NATO and embassies in Kabul follows comments made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the private firms are “thieves by day, terrorists by night.”
The list of allegations, which was obtained by the Post, includes charges that half of the companies failed to pay taxes, that companies failed to pay insurance to families of killed guards, that one firm killed an Afghan driver and burned his vehicle, and another firm failed to properly report the killing of four people.
The investigation also found that the British firm G4Sm employed nearly 1,400 more guards than allowed and kept 27 illegal bullet-proof vehicles. The U.S. firm Blue Hackle was alleged to have nearly 1,300 more guards than allowed and a stash of 385 unregistered weapons, the Post said.
Blue Hackle North America President Tony Koren said his company has registered all its weapons in Afghanistan and that while the Afghan government once had a 500-person cap for private security companies, there were exemptions for guards working on U.S. government contracts, the Post said.
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