Ban on security firms hampering projects: Eikenberry
In compliance with a decree from President Hamid Karzai six months back, 57 firms that operated illegally and seven registered companies have been dissolved so far.
With 27 international and 18 Afghan firms still operating, the government insists the decision is irrevocable and that it will not accept pressure from the international community on the issue.
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, while supporting the presidential decision, told a news conference in Kabul late on Sunday that the ban was hampering several US-funded schemes, including a key power project in Kandahar province.
They were in talks with the government on how to ensure security for the multimillion projects after the dissolution of the private firms, said the diplomat, who did not give further details.
Reiterating the government's stance, Karzai's deputy spokesman, Siamak Herawi, said all security firms would be disbanded in a phased manner. However, the companies providing security for embassies and foreign NGOs are exempt from the decision.
The government was ready for talks on the US-sponsored projects that were delayed by security concerns, he said, believing Afghan forces were capable of providing security for all reconstruction schemes.
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