Tales from the Trail

Karzai appeals to U.S. taxpayers

karzai1Afghan President Hamid Karzai is taking a page from the playbook of American politicians campaigning for public office: talk to the taxpayers.

Karzai is on a campaign to give the boot to tens of thousands of foreign private security guards working in Afghanistan. He’s already put the U.S. government on notice that the private security firms operating in his country will be disbanded within four months.

On Sunday, the Afghan leader took his case directly to the American people.

“I am appealing to the U.S. taxpayer not to allow their hard-earned money to be wasted on groups that are not only providing lots of inconveniences to the Afghan people but actually are, God knows, in contact with Mafia-like groups and perhaps also funding militants and insurgents and terrorists through those funds,” Karzai said on in an ABC “This Week” interview.

Karzai said the relatively high pay that foreign security firms offer is keeping Afghans from joining the police and security forces.

“Why would an Afghan young man come to the police if he can get a job in a security firm, have a lot of leeway and without any discipline?” Karzai said.

Group accuses U.S. Kabul embassy guards of misconduct

Nearly naked, drunken guys dancing around a bonfire and engaging in lewd conduct. And there are pictures and videos. No it’s not a frat party gone wild.  It’s downtime for some private security contractors hired to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul,  according to the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight.

The watchdog group says the alleged misbehavior by the guards working for ArmorGroup North America — along with serious under-staffing — has jeopardized security at the embassy amid rising violence in the Afghan capital.

The Project sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a lengthy letter documenting complaints about the guards. The group also sent pictures and videos backing its allegations.