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Cablegate: Regulating Private Security Companies: Need For

VZCZCXRO8835
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1785/01 1491412
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291412Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8376
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4127
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3647

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001785

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A, S/CRS, S/CT,
EUR/RPM, INL/CIVPOL
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG,
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON MARR EFIN NATO AF
SUBJECT: REGULATING PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES: NEED FOR
ACCOUNTABILITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT

REF: KABUL 1679

1. (SBU) Following the recent DIAG meeting at which
President Karzai highlighted perceived problems with
unlicensed Private Security Companies (reftel), the
Policy Action Group on May 17 further reviewed the
situation with the international community. Deputy
Minister of Interior Khalid and head of the DIAG
Disarmament and Reintegration Commission Stanekzai
argued that although there are 59 PSCs registered with
the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, many of
these are not actually legitimate businesses. At the
moment there is no procedure for registering weapons,
completing background checks on individuals, or even
verifying the bona fides of the companies, they said.
Former Minister Stanekzai added that the GOA
recognizes the need to provide adequate protection for
persons and property at a level higher than that which
the Afghan National Police is capable of providing.
However, he argued the need to ensure accountability
and transparency through appropriate licensing and
regulation of these companies. The representative of
the National Directorate of Security (NDS) told the
PAG that in his agency,s view many of these companies
are controlled by drug smugglers, criminals, or
warlords. The NDS estimates that 70 percent of the
crimes committed in Kabul involve these companies.

2. (SBU) Ambassador Wood commented that it is
important for public safety and order to know who has
weapons. It is also the case that there is a
legitimate demand by banks and foreign investors who
need robust security. Regulation is necessary but a
balance must be kept so that these companies are not
forced out of operation.

3. (SBU) After further discussion and interventions by
the UK Ambassador and COMISAF that generally supported
Ambassador Wood,s points, it was decided that the
issue should be referred to a Working Group, to
include relevant Ministries and international
community members. That group met on May 27.
Attendees were presented with a draft regulation that
had been put together by a previous working group. The
international representatives quickly determined that
the document, while a good first step, lacked
essential provisions and needed revision of most
others to protect the impartiality, transparency, and
accountability of the regulatory process. It was
decided that after an official translation has been
prepared and circulated, comments would be submitted
in writing and the Working Group would meet again
within a short period to finalize a revised draft.

4. (SBU) Separately, polmiloff and RSOs met with
representatives of two Private Security Companies who
described the difficulties they have encountered
operating in Afghanistan. They described an
environment in which foreign-owned PSCs have trouble
getting licenses without paying fees far in excess of
prescribed amounts, companies are unable to gain
permission for the use of weapons that are needed for
their mission (especially in the South), and
legitimate locally-engaged security guards have been
arrested and remain in jail because the documents
issued by one part of the MOI are not recognized by
another part. The company representatives said they
strongly support a new regulation, but it must be
transparent, clear, and non-discriminatory.

5. (SBU) Comment: Clearly there is a vital need for
regulation, but it must be carefully drafted so that
it will protect legitimate businesses while

KABUL 00001785 002 OF 002


forestalling the criminal elements and political power
brokers who use PSCs as their own militia forces.
Post, in coordination with CSTC-A and other members of
the international community, will engage closely with
the GOA in revising the draft regulation until it
reaches an acceptable standard. Since President
Karzai is seized with the need to solve this issue and
it has been tasked by the PAG, we are hopeful that we
can fairly quickly reach agreement on an acceptable
draft. While difficulties in implementation will
remain, approving the regulation will be an important
step forward in resolving this problem.
WOOD

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