Private security firm solicitations thriving in Afghanistan
Days before Afghan President Hamid Karzai's spokesman on Tuesday said a deadline would soon be set to disband all private security firms, the U.S. military in Kandahar and Kabul had eight separate solicitations posted for such firms to provide continuing guard service for U.S. facilities for another three years.
For example, the Joint Contracting Command in Kandahar is seeking a contractor to supply Forward Operating Base at Tarin Kowt with 42 armed guards, three supervisors and a site manager. At the southern Afghanistan base, the contract force is to "to perform internal guard services to include but not limited to, internal and external control points, interior and exterior perimeter towers, internal roving and escort guard services," according to a notice on the website fbodaily.com.
In a speech to the Civil Services Institute in Kabul last week dealing with security contractors, Karzai said that the government "could no longer tolerate the existence of such parallel structures .. .. . whether they are owned by foreigners or Afghans. People do not trust these companies and believe their existence is against Afghanistan's national interests."
Instead of supporting private contractors, Karzai argued, the international community "should assist in strengthening the Afghan army and police."
The Tarin Kowt solicitation, which involves a 12-month contract with options for two additional years, indicates that the winning bidder must be "registered and licensed with the Ministry of Trade (business license) and Ministry of Interior (operating license)." In addition, the winner, if it is not the current contractor, should "maximize" the use of current guards giving at least 50 percent of them the right to stay on if they want. Also, the contract requires at least 50 percent of the guards should live within 30 miles of Tarin Kowt.
Other solicitations for security guards active in recent weeks cover Combat Outpost (COP) Chergotah, in Khowst Province; COP Blackhawk in Wardak Province, Forward Operating Base Hadrian west of Tarin Kowt; Forward Operating Base Howz-E-Madad in Kandahar Province; Forward Operating Base Lindsey Deuce, also in Kandahar Province; Highway Hotel 1 in Kandahar and even at even at Afghan Civil Police Headquarters in Kabul.
| August 11, 2010; 11:56 AM ET
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