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Afghanistan Disbands Eight Private Security Firms

There are hundreds of private security firms operating in Afghanistan
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry has said eight private security firms have been disbanded and hundreds of weapons confiscated as the government moves toward taking full responsibility for the country's security.

Afghanistan is set to take over security from foreign troops by 2014.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said the decision to shut down the firms is part of an August security plan ordered by Karzai, which targets illegal armed groups working as private security firms, companies operating with temporary permits, and other perceived security threats.

Bashary said about one-half of the roughly 50 private security companies registered with the government are foreign.

The government believes the firms, which are believed to employ as many as 40,000 Afghans, often operate outside the law.

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omer on October 3 said that among the companies disbanded is private security firm XE, formerly known as Blackwater, a company accused of indiscrimminate killings of Iraqi civilians in a high-profile 2007 case.

compiled from agency reports