Ten private security guards accused of wrongdoing at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan have been fired or resigned and were leaving the country Friday, U.S. officials said.
Allegations surfaced last week that contractor ArmorGroup North America allowed mistreatment, sexual activity and intimidation within the ranks of private guards hired to protect the embassy in Kabul. The company and U.S. officials are investigating. Eight of the guards under investigation were fired and two resigned, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement issued Friday. In addition, the entire senior management team of ArmorGroup North America in Kabul was to be replaced immediately, the embassy said. The embassy’s security office is continuing interviews of all ArmorGroup guards, and a team from the State Department’s inspector general’s office has arrived in Kabul and begun an investigation, the release said. The allegations came to light last week when the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and briefed reporters on its findings, which it said were based on e-mails and interviews with more than a dozen guards who have worked at the U.S. compound in Kabul. ArmorGroup has a security contract with the State Department to provide services through July 2010. Wackenhut Services Inc., the corporate parent of ArmorGroup, said in an e-mail that it is “fully cooperating” in the investigation.