Afghan president: Donors should stop supporting private security, share contract informationBy Rahim Faiez, AP
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Karzai: Shutter private security companies
KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai called Saturday for the international community to stop supporting private security companies in Afghanistan, which he said have created parallel security forces in competition with police and army.
He also said foreign donors should help curb corruption by telling his government details about the reconstruction contracts they award.
Karzai spoke during a visit to the Afghan Civil Service Institute, which is training thousands of civil servants in Kabul and across the nation to bolster the capacity of the Afghan government. The president boasted that the recent international conference he hosted in the capital is proof that the government becoming stronger.
To help strengthen his government, the U.S. and NATO should eliminate private security companies, which Karzai said has created a security structure in Afghanistan that undermines the Afghan army and police.
“Afghan or foreign companies, there are some 30,000 to 40,000 people in these security companies,” Karzai said. “They have created security problems for us, whoever is working in these private security companies, they are not working for the benefit of Afghan national interests. … If they really want to be at the service of Afghans, they should join Afghan National Police.”
The Afghan government has no oversight over the private security guards.
“Very urgently and seriously we want from the foreigners to stop creating private security companies,” Karzai said. “We cannot tolerate these companies, which are like a parallel structure with our forces. We cannot have police, army and — at the same time — another force as private security companies.”
Karzai also said that Afghan officials will not be able to effectively battle corruption until foreign donor nations and organizations reveal more information about the billions of dollars of aid flowing into the Afghanistan.
“The United States of America and NATO should reveal the details of their contracts,” Karzai said. “If we don’t know who has received a contract, we cannot eliminate corruption in Afghanistan.”
Afghan government officials have blamed the international community for the corruption by criticizing the way foreign nations award contracts, which sometimes end up in the hands of politicians and powerbrokers.
“The contracts that they are making to any one — either politicians or government officials — should be revealed to us,” Karzai said. “We must know who has a contract, why he has and how he has it. Until then, we will not be able to solve these problems. Our struggle with corruption would be very difficult.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, while in Kabul for the recent international conference, agreed that the international community needs to take a close look at its own contracting process, which sometimes contradicts the war strategy.
“We also have to take our hard look at ourselves because it is very clear our presence, all of our contracting, has fed that problem,” she said. “This is not just an Afghan problem, it’s an international issue. We have to do a better job of trying to more carefully channel and monitor our own aid.”
She said the U.S. is “pressing the Afghan government at all levels to be more accountable, to go after corruption,” but that the U.S. also had a responsibility to improve management of its programs.
Tags: Afghanistan, Asia, Central Asia, Civil Service, Kabul, North America, Political Corruption, Political Issues, United States