Saturday, September 5, 2009


Taken from
US guards in Kabul scandal axed

Photos have shown men partying naked.
Eight private security guards at the US embassy in Kabul have been sacked over claims that they took part in drunken parties and lewd bullying rituals.
The embassy said the guards, who were photographed in various stages of nudity, had now left Afghanistan.
Embassy officials did not confirm the guards' nationalities or names.
A standards watchdog revealed the scandal this week saying guards had brawled, engaged in sexual bullying and undermined security at the embassy.

The Project on Government Oversight, which sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlining the allegations, said it was pleased the state department had taken action.

'Deviant' practices
But the watchdog said it had not been informed of the identities of those who were sacked, and expressed concern that the wrong people might have been punished.
"We have been told people are being fired for simply being in the photographs. We do know a number of those were unwilling participants."
The body said in some circumstances supervisors had forced more junior guards to take part in "deviant hazing", referring to humiliating rituals.
It released an e-mail it had received from one staff member describing in detail the alleged behaviour by some guards and supervisors.

The embassy said a team from the state department had arrived in Kabul to lead an investigation into the scandal.
The firm the guards worked for, ArmorGroup North America, has not yet responded to the claims.
But the US embassy said in a statement: "The entire senior management team of ArmorGroup North America in Kabul is being replaced immediately. The embassy security office continues its interviews of every one of the ArmorGroup guards."

American use of private security firms in its conflicts has become highly controversial in recent years.
The Iraqi government banned US firm Blackwater after its security guards killed at least 14 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
Analysts say the Kabul scandal reveals potentially dangerous security lapses at the embassy, where almost 1,000 staff work - though US officials say they are satisfied that the compound is properly guarded.

It is also being interpreted as another blow to US attempts at winning over the Afghan population.

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