Obama Tells Karzai: "Clean it Up".

According to the Orlando Sentinel, this is what the U.S. President told Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan after his opponent withdrew from the planned run-off elections.

I’m sure that our eloquent orator did not put it so bluntly, but you have to admit, it does make for interesting reading.

After all, we have been hearing much talk about the corrupt Karzai government and unless we want to be directly involved, they do need to “clean up their act”.

Will U.S. Troops Get Hooked on Heroin?

Dylan Rattigan’s morning show on MSNBC last Tuesday covered the topic of U.S. soldiers getting hooked on heroin. Could the Taliban and/or Al-Qaeda use Afghan Poppies to weaken coalition forces?

The idea does not seem all that far-fetched, unfortunately. Apparently, drugs were readily available and being abused in Viet Nam by U.S. (and others?) soldiers.

Commanders should take the threat – potential or otherwise, serious. Drugs are not something to be taken lightly. Not only is there the fear of addiction (think of the unthinkable consequences of a drug-induced soldier trying to fend off the enemy), but the lotto-like pay day an unscrupulous foreigner (with a get-out-of-jail free card) could reap is bound to occur to some there on the ground.

Which makes one wonder why these poppy fields could not be flame-throwered out of existence like they are in other parts of the world by joint DEA/coalition/local forces/special unit efforts?

Could the rumors be true, that warlords are being allowed to grow their addictive crops as long as they promise not to attack us/Karzai’s Government? Let us hope not.

White-powder pushers need to be eradicated like the vermin they are.

Are the Taliban Insurgents Winning the War in Afghanistan?

The US and NATO Commander, General McChrystal seems to think so. At least, they will win if he does not receive more troops. In this Washington Post article written by Bod Woodward on 9/21/09, The General lays out reasons for his thought provoking claim.

It is difficult to believe that this is the same Taliban who back in 2001 and 2002 were described as being poorly equipped and poorly trained – who appeared to have no chance whatsoever against the Coalition Forces.

Did the Coalition Forces make the mistake of dimissing the Taliban as a ragged, rabbel-rousing mob, incapable of inflicting serious damage on the more sophisticated Western Armies?

We should use history as our teacher (“those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”)and bear in mind that the Afghan fighting men have a long history of overcoming the odds and defeating the might of much bigger forces. One has only to look at how they kicked England’s arse on more than one occassion and the fact that they could not be defeated by the Soviets.

Washington does not appear to be overly concerned by General McChrystal’s warnings. It is not like the General is beating around the bush when he says; “without more forces within the next year, the eight year conflict will likely result in failure”. Even a double-talking Washington suit should be able to pick up on that statement. Private Investigators call that; “a clue”.

The General also criticizes Afhganistan’s very corrupt Government. He claims that the citizenry have little reason to support their Government. This coupled with the view that US/NATO resolve is uncertain, makes them unwilling to allign with us against the insurgents.

Far from viewing the Taliban as a bunch of rabble-rousers, General McChrystal refers to them as being a “muscular and sophisticated enemy”. He paints a very scary picture of petty offenders and ordinary criminals being housed with insurgents in jails across Afghanistan and subsequently being recruited by those detained insurgents.

The General warns that the Afghan prison system has become a “sanctuary and base to conduct lethal operations”. He goes on to state; “the enemy now operate with relative impunity in the prisons”. With all of the effort to eradicate insurgency ove the past 8 years, the General claims that “there are more insurgents per square foot in corrections facilities than anywhere else in Afghanistan”.

Seems like we should be focusing on the penal system more closely and building maximum security prisons where the hardcore extremists can posion each others’ minds instead of infecting those who may be merely “passing through”.

Seems like we should also be “bailing out” General McChrystal and giving him the means to defeat the enemy. Or do we just want to withdraw with our tail between our legs like the English and Russians did before us?

Doing Business in Afghanistan….Bring a Bodyguard

As if security was not already a big enough concern in Afghanistan, a new document has surfaced that could make doing any kind of business in Afghanistan that much more dangerous and potentially lethal.

A report from TVNZ discusses the disturbing new information coming to light.

The document which was discovered in July, contains a directive issued by an Al Qaeda advisor; Mustafa Hamid. In the directive, Hamid calls on the Taliban to start kidnapping foreigners as well as foreign military personnel.

This new kidnapping blitz is believed to be a tactic to force foreign Governments, in particular the U.S., to release terrorists in a type of “prisoner exchange” program. This idea is no doubt fashioned after the type of prisoner exchange operating between Palestine and Israel.

The bottom line is; if you are fortunate enough to have landed a Govt. contract or are planning on visiting Afghanistan as part of a private initiative, think long and hard about your personal security.

Proactive measures are ALWAYS more effective than reactive ones. Effective in every way – from a P.R. point of view, to a financial one – it will be many, many times cheaper to pay a professional Personal Protection Specialist to protect you for a week or two whilst in a dangerous city or country than it will be to negotiate a ransom, which may start in the millions of dollars.

Civilian Security Contractor Awarded Medal for Bravery

This is a great story for the private security industry as a whole, especially with all of the negative stories going around about certain companies and operators working in Iraq.

One wonders why there have not been more medals awarded as I am sure security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped to save lives on a daily basis. Would any HE operators care to shed some light or share examples of heroic acts that they have experienced first hand?

Female Bodyguards Get the Job Done.

Those who think that Bodyguarding is a job best left to men – think again.

The Dublin City Herald recently ran a story about Lisa Baldwin, from Dublin, who is a female Personal Protection/Close Protection Specialist based in the U.K. Ms. Baldwin is in high demand by Middle Eastern clients who wish to have their women and children protected by female agents.

That is exactly why SEXTON EXECUTIVE SECURITY(www.sextonsecurity.com)designed a Middle East E.P./C.P. course that will be held in the U.A.E. from the 11th of October through the 18th. The President, John Sexton summed it up as follows; “We saw the need for agents from all over the world to be able to train in the Middle East and to experience the culture,tradition and religion first hand”. “Middle Eastern clients are extremely important to our industry”, he added “and it behooves all agents involved in providing safety for these families to become conversant with every aspect of their lives in order to be able to offer the best protection possible”.

SEXTON will also have a group of female trainees attending their Executive Protection course in San Diego, California in December. Lisa Baldwin is described in the Herald as being “one of the world’s few female bodyguards”. Many women around the world now recognize that by undergoing professional training like Ms. Baldwin, they can be assigned to prestigious contracts and make a very lucrative living.

Ms. Baldwin’s petite stature does not prevent her from succeeding in a mostly male-dominated industry. “You realise you’re not in Iraq, you’re in London”, she advises. Very true. Smart protectors understand that the Art of Personal Protection is about using your mind and not your brawn. The differences between working in Iraq and London/New York/Dubai are like night and day.

Unfortunately, if the agent does not receive proper training, they may very well fail to realise the difference. There is one type of training needed for a Hostile environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan and a completely different one for the corporate/private sector. A security contractor coming fresh out of a hostile environment will often find it extremely difficult providing protection in a covert, “grey man” style.

Fortunately for them, Sexton Executive Security’s focus is on private clients and their E.P./C.P. corporate training program can help those returning form overseas contracts to make the transition smooth and profitable.

In the corporate/private family world, you don’t have heavy weaponry to rely upon but as Ms. Baldwin states; “Its all about the mind and prevention”. Like the old saying goes; “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

If you are headed to Pakistan – watch your back

So much goes on in the murky world of Polictics that we often do not know what is afoot until long after the fact. Take a look at today’s bombshell for instance.

Everyone seemed to be shocked to hear that North Korea came clean about their nuclear weapons capability and were rewarded by the lifting of some sanctions. This is a total “180″ from their behavior not that long ago when they were flexing their nutrition-deprived muscles and thumbing their noses at the rest of the world.

This in turn is making me wonder about the threats from Afghanistan’s President Karzai to Pakistan. President Karzai has been very vocal regarding Pakistan’s involvement in his country’s border area and his warnings suggesting Afghanistan’s intent to attack their neighbor seems to be starting to agitate the Paskistani authorities. Which makes me wonder….is Karzai’s theatrics a way to open the door for his U.S. protectors to launch an attack on the Pakistani border?

If this is the case, than Americans travelling to Pakistan should really consider if they need to be there and if they do, they should give serious consideration to their safety while there. We were recently contacted by a U.S. company who had business in Pakistan and rightfully so, they were worried for their safety. There are no doubt, many sympathizers in Pakistan, especially near the Afghan border who have little love for America or it’s citizens. Further strikes (no matter how justifeid they may be), will only heighten this dislike/distrust.

If you are headed to that region, be well aware of what might lay ahead and plan accordingly.