Blackwater Mercenaries Rumored to Outnumber Local Police in Pakistani Capital

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leaders in Pakistan have been vehemently denying claims started by a religious leader that security company Xe, formerly Blackwater, has thousands of contractors working in the nation’s capital of Islamabad. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a Deobandi political party, has said there are as many as 9,000 Xe contractors working in Islamabad, which would outnumber the 7,000 local police in the capital, if his assertion proves accurate.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has denied there are any Xe security guards in Islamabad, or that they have been hired to protect the president and prime minister.
However, in an interview with Pakistan’s Express TV in January, U.S. Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates appeared to confirm the presence of Xe, as well as contract employees from DynCorp. According to a transcript issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, when asked about subject, Gates replied, “Well, they're operating as individual companies here in Pakistan. In Afghanistan and in Iraq, because they are theaters of war involving the United States, there are rules concerning the contracting companies. If they're contracting with us or with the State Department here in Pakistan, then there are very clear rules set forth by the State Department and by ourselves.”
The Pakistani Taliban recently claimed they killed Americans in the Lower Dir District of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province in response to Xe contractors operating in the region.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


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