The security responsibility for the Intercontinental Hotel was handed over to a private security company just three weeks before the Taliban waged a devastating attack on the hotel.
A probe by TOLOnews found that there is not much information out there about the security company.
Until three weeks ago the National Directorate of Security (NDS) has been responsible for the safe-keeping of the hotel.
During former president Hamid Karzai administration, mostly all private security companies were dissolved except those with contracts to protect diplomatic entities.
This company that took over the hotel’s security, Kabul Balkh Security and Safety Company, has however been operating for a few years.
However, the interior ministry said it had started investigations into the company to find out how it has operated for the past few years.
“We do not have further information about how the company was issued a license and how it operates,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.
Finance minister Iklil Hakimi meanwhile said the security departments had been aware of the contract signed with the security company over maintaining security of the Intercontinental Hotel.
According to Hakimi, the security contract can be amended of guard.
The National Security Council and other security bodies had been aware of the handover.
“The office had requested that it is better we should hire a private company. And based on our internal procedures, this National Security Council should give permission and they did,” said Hakimi.
Kabul Balkh Security and Safety Company’s owner is a man named Saeed Rahimi and it has been said he has ties with a number of government officials from Kabul and Panjsher provinces.
The company was established in 2004 and on its webpage, has posted photos that its young employees receiving security training. In addition to this, there are certificates that have been issued by the United States forces in Afghanistan to the company.
Kabul Balkh Security and Safety Company and Intercontinental Hotel officials refused to comment in this regard.
“Those who are responsible for maintaining security of the hotel must be investigated,” Nisar Ahmad, a resident of Badakhshan said.
“This creates a big question and government should take serious action to prevent such incidents in the future,” Mohammad Zaman, a resident of Nangarhar said.
Meanwhile, a number of former military analysts criticized the handover of security responsibility of such an important facility to a private company.
said securing such facility requires lots of equipment and money and only a state security department can handle it.
A former military officer Atiqullah Amarkhel said: “From one hand if government commits mistake in such cases, from other hand, there are powerful men who support mafia and these companies also belong to them,” former military officer Atiqullah Amarkhel said.
Sources meanwhile said Kabul Balkh Safety and Security Company is set to be paid $800,000 USD in annual fees to maintain security of the hotel.
According to the sources, the night that Taliban fighters raided on the hotel, only 15 personnel of the company was at the hotel and also hours before the incident, security equipment of the hotel were terminated.
It has been said during the ongoing fights in the hotel, the security company’s personnel did not take action against the attackers and also according to journalists, a number of these personnel were among the people outside of the compound watching the ongoing fights.
Interior ministry also confirmed that Taliban fighters did not face any action at the entrance and when they arrived at the hall of the hotel, started firing.