Kimberley Motley, an American lawyer in Kabul who advises security firms, said company executives were taken aback by the crackdown. They had opened their books to the government as a good-faith gesture, she said, in hopes that they could remain involved in the security industry as risk-mitigation consultants under the APPF model.
“A lot of companies are being penalized for trying to transparently run their security companies,” Motley said. The bulk of the equipment being seized, she said, was imported during years when there were “limited laws that dictated how they should operate.”
This government in Afghanistan is something else. First they ask the companies to see their books, and the companies comply in good faith, and then the government says ‘hey, let’s seize their valuable equipment’ listed in that book. Not a thought or care about any prior arrangements or contracts that allowed those companies to have that stuff in the first place. No compensation for that equipment, and just out-right take it for their own use. Boy, that is the kind of thing that will attract investors and business…….pffft.
The other thing that gets me about this whole deal is that part of what makes the private industry so effective, is the ability of the principal to just fire a poor company. If one security firm does not perform, then the principal goes with the next best company. The only thing the government should be involved with, is making sure everyone plays nice and that they deal specifically with the bad ‘agents’ or companies that ruin it for everyone else. That is how the free market is supposed to work.
With this arrangement, none of these NGO’s or companies investing in Afghanistan will have that option to ‘fire’ their protective detail. And because Afghanistan is so corrupt anyways, all of these companies and groups thoroughly expect to not only get a poor service, but to be extorted and ripped off in the process. They have no choice in the matter, and to be honest, I do not blame them for making the decision to not do business in Afghanistan under those circumstances.
Hell, this whole deal of the government seizing property from these private companies should be a loud message to all. “Come to Afghanistan and get ripped off.” lol That should be their motto, and plaster it all over their flag or something. –Matt
Afghanistan cracks down on contractors
By Ernesto Londoño
Afghan officials have seized millions of dollars worth of armored vehicles and weapons from private security firms in recent weeks, a move that has exacerbated concerns about the government’s plan to replace the hired guns that protect convoys and installations with an unprepared state-run guard force.
The crackdown is being carried out even though the Afghan Public Protection Force failed to meet any of the six benchmarks that were set out for it when President Hamid Karzai formally announced a plan to ban private security firms by March 20. An assessment team led by the NATO military coalition, which is heavily involved in the creation of the Afghan force, concluded in the fall that the guard force is far from ready to take over.
Diplomats, development experts and company executives worry that the abolition of private security contractors within three months could endanger Afghans and foreigners supporting NATO and its allies, halt reconstruction projects and open new channels for corruption.