Cracking Down

Karzai to Expel Private Security Companies

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour on ABC's This Week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai reiterated demands for private security contractors to leave Afghanistan, calling for the Central Asian nation to be free of private security firms within the next four months. Karzai says private firms are hindering the development of Afghan's own security operations by "running a parallel security structure to the Afghan government." The White House has called Karzai's four-month deadline "very aggressive." Karzai also owned up to the fact that he had personally intervened to free Mohammed Zia Saleh, a top political aide accused of graft by two American-backed Afghan anti-corruption teams, the Major Crimes Task Force and the Sensitive Investigative Unit. Saleh, head of administration for Afghanistan’s National Security Council, was arrested in July for soliciting bribes only to be released on the order of the attorney general’s office shortly after.