Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Hiring trigger-happy heroin addicts as security guards

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I don’t think hiring heroin addicts as security guards makes sense. Especially when they seem to open fire with little provocation. The district chief in Maywand, in southwestern Afghanistan, says that is what is happening. And American officers in the area agree that the guards are a problem, according to ...

576311_091124_afghan12.jpg
576311_091124_afghan12.jpg
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN-MAY 26: Afghan Counter Narcotics Police siezed over 750 kg of opium (1,650 pounds) from inside a fuel tanker May 26, 2005 in Kabul, Afghanistan. 10 kg of opium makes about 1kg of heroin. Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium and heroin launched the first survey of drug abuse among its own population. The country produced 90 percent of the world's opium which is refined into heroin for sale in many parts of the world. U.N. experts have warned that the country is turning into a "narco-state" less than four years after the fall of the Taliban. President Hamid Karzai recently came under fire during his visit with President Bush for his record in fighting the war on drugs. (photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I don't think hiring heroin addicts as security guards makes sense. Especially when they seem to open fire with little provocation.

The district chief in Maywand, in southwestern Afghanistan, says that is what is happening. And American officers in the area agree that the guards are a problem, according to a fine article by Sean Naylor in the November 30 edition of Army Times.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I don’t think hiring heroin addicts as security guards makes sense. Especially when they seem to open fire with little provocation.

The district chief in Maywand, in southwestern Afghanistan, says that is what is happening. And American officers in the area agree that the guards are a problem, according to a fine article by Sean Naylor in the November 30 edition of Army Times.

“They’ll start firing at anything that’s moving, and they will injure or kill innocent Afghans, and they’ll destroy property,” Lt. Col. Jeff French, a battalion commander, told Naylor.

“We’re getting fairly consistent complains about them,” added Capt. Casey Thoreen, one of French’s company commanders. “Everybody knows somebody who’s been shot by the contractors.”

French has taken to pulling over convoys at gunpoint and taking their security chiefs in for questioning at his base.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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