Blackwater may train Afghan securitymen

ISLAMABAD – Afghan security forces would be receiving training, as announced in London Conference, but there is strong possibility that Blackwater will supervise their training in alliance with NATO and ISAF.

This newspaper’s investigations based on the audit report about Blackwater by the US State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and informal discussions with intelligence sources and some insiders from the UN office in Afghanistan support the notion that a well-staged secretive arrangement has been reached to give Blackwater a ‘legalised’ role in Afghanistan.

One may recall here that Blackwater Lodge and Training Centre had changed its name to US Training Centre (USTC) in 2004. In August last, OIG had issued an audit report to shower endless praises on USTC. The Inspector General in the particular report had not only appreciated the operations of USTC but had also given it a clean-chit saying USTC was not involved in violence and killings.

With regard to the USTC’s operations in Afghanistan, the report observes, “US Government representatives need to meet regularly with their Afghan counterparts. Regional security staff stated to OIG that USTC was essential in ensuring the holding of such meetings.”

In complete disregard to human causalities and blatant violations of human rights, which Blackwater has inflicted in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Inspector General reported very high about Blackwater’s operations in Iraq, besides Afghanistan. The report which is available at OIG’s website with some of its extracts reported in a section of Western press says, “State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security had been highly effective in ensuring the safety of diplomatic personnel in Iraq. There have been no casualties among US diplomatic and civilian officials protected by contractors under the bureau’s supervision.

In addition, the OIG had recommended increase in Blackwater personnel, particularly USTC, in Afghanistan with all the necessary support to be provided to it.

Given that the report was released in August last and its recommendations strongly supported USTC to signify it as a competent training centre, and the name of Blackwater Lodge and Training Centre was changed to USTC in a bid to disassociate the covert organisation with its infamous dark past, it is crystal clear that Blackwater or ‘USTC’ would be offered a lucrative covert contract to train Afghan National Army and troops. Reports regarding such kind of contract being in the pipeline have also been received from UN office in Afghanistan and intelligence sources.

The London Conference laid the roadmap for the training programmes of Afghan National Army and NATO’s troop surge. However, some 37,000 military troops that would be landing in Afghanistan would be taking charge of on-field duties.

Ironically enough, no clear mechanism has been devised regarding training programmes and notorious Blackwater or USTC would be keen to give training to the same in alliance with ISAF and NATO forces.

A US court has recently charged two Blackwater personnel for killing two civilians and seriously injuring the third one last year. Dozens of incidents of second-degree murders at the hands of Blackwater have surfaced in Afghanistan and Iraq ever since the notorious organisation has been given the evil role by the US government in both the countries.
By: Sikander Shaheen

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