KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government said Sunday it has started dissolving private security firms in the country by taking steps to end the operations of eight companies, including the firm formerly known as Blackwater and three other international contractors.
"We have very good news for the Afghan people today," presidential spokesman Waheed Omar told reporters in the capital. "The disbanding of eight private security firms has started."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced in August that private security contractors would have to cease operations by the end of the year — wiping out an industry with tens of thousands of guards who protect military convoys, government officials and businesspeople.
Some security contractors have been criticized for operating more like private militias, and the government said it could not have armed groups that were independent of the police or military forces.
The eight companies include Xe Services — the North Carolina-based contractor formerly called Blackwater — Virginia-based NCL Holdings LLC, New Mexico-based Four Horsemen International and London-based Compass International, Omar said. Two large Afghan firms, White Eagle Security Services and Abdul Khaliq Achakzai, are also on the list. The remaining two companies are small operations with fewer than 100 employees, so he declined to name them.