Afghan official: NATO violated security agreement

KABUL, Afghanistan—The U.S.-led coalition violated a security agreement in Kabul when its troops raided a private security company in the capital and killed two guards, the Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman said Sunday.

Spokesman Zemarai Bashary said the police general who helped them has been suspended and an investigation was under way into why coalition forces on Friday raided the compound of Tiger International, an Afghan private security company, killing two guards and wounding two others.

Afghan security forces have for the past two years had control of Kabul and all NATO operations in the city must be cleared with the government.

“That was a very tragic and unfortunate incident which occurred in Kabul two nights ago. The forces which were involved in that operation didn’t pay any attention to the rules and regulations which we were agreed upon earlier regarding such operations in Kabul,” he said. “For the past two years we have agreed that the security of Kabul is the responsibility of the Afghan forces, or Afghan forces must be in the lead of any operation in Kabul.”

NATO said after the raid that it had received a “credible threat to attack” the U.S. Embassy, after which a joint Afghan-NATO force moved into the area where intelligence reports had located two vehicles thought to be loaded with explosives.

The coalition forces were fired on after they had announced their arrival, and they returned fire, killing two of the shooters, a NATO statement said. Two others were wounded, it said, and 15 people were detained in the operation.

The detained men were subsequently released after a senior Afghan army official arrived at the scene and “personally vouched” for them, NATO said. A large amount of weapons was also seized but no vehicles loaded with explosives were found.

Bashary said that an Afghan police general had been suspended and was being questioned. Another Afghan police officer who was in charge of a unit responsible for intelligence gathering at the Interior Ministry was also suspended, he said.

“The international forces acted against the agreement,” he said. “An Afghan police unit who were not involved in the operation but were supporting it, also acted against the agreement.”

The incident follows two others this week in which NATO forces killed Afghan civilians, either during a battle with insurgents or after acting on intelligence relating to suspected militants.

President Hamid Karzai has ordered private security companies in Afghanistan to be disbanded, although some will be exempt, such as those protecting diplomatic missions or aid and development projects. Earlier this week, the Interior Ministry official in charge of the process, Gen. Abdul Manan Farahi, said 57 such firms had already been shut down.

“We are working very hard to prevent from such incident in the future and once again we want to say that in any operation in Kabul Afghan forces must be in the lead of the operation,” Bashary said.

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