It’s becoming harder to keep gun-wielding men straight in Afghanistan. Private security firms have cropped up all over, the Wall Street Journal reports, hired to protect businesses, particularly those doing work for the US. But coalition troops often can’t tell such groups apart from militants, and have been in at least three significant firefights with them in recent months.
“We authorize these guys to carry weapons in areas that need more security,” says one US commander. “But the risk is that you’re allowing more people to walk around with guns who aren’t part of the government and don’t answer to it.” The firms often hire ex-Taliban fighters who, officials fear, still take orders from the mullahs.