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Afghan president to issue order on private security firms

From Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Karzai to halt private security
  • Karzai will demand that all private security companies cease operations
  • The international community in the country relies heavily on private security
  • The NATO-led force said it welcomes the initiative

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to issue an order Tuesday demanding that all private security companies in Afghanistan cease operation within four months.

The president's spokesman offered no further details.

Afghanistan's international community relies heavily on private security companies.

"We can't comment on the decree until we have seen and studied it," a U.S. Embassy representative told CNN Monday. "We look forward to seeing the decree and understanding the details."

International Security Assistance Force Spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz told reporters at a briefing last week that the force "welcomes the initiative" by the president to control private security companies operating in Afghanistan.

"Binding rules and guidelines for employment by private security companies are needed," he said.

Blotz said the force has been aware of problems in the private security business "for years" and that coordination is needed among the force, the Afghan government and the international community.

He said the NATO-led force had started looking into the issue last year and had some recommendations, including the need for all companies to be registered and put under government oversight and legal control. He also said there is a problem with companies that sub-contract their work out.