INSIGHT - GERMANY/AFGHANISTAN - German security company in Afghanistan

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (

Al-Akhbar Management

Date 2011-08-04 22:20:06
From [email protected]
To [email protected]
Others Listname: mailto:[email protected]
MessageId: <[email protected]>
InReplyTo: [email protected]
Good work, Hoor.

On 8/4/11 4:10 PM, Hoor Jangda wrote:

Kunduz isn't part of phase 1 of the handover so there are foreign forces still in the province.

On Thursday, 8/4/11 3:10 PM, Kristen Cooper wrote:

Is Kunduz among the initial areas where they are trying to hand over security to the Afghan forces?

On 8/4/11 3:50 PM, Michael Wilson wrote:

PUBLICATION: Check with Hoor first
SOURCE: New source, DE1000
ATTRIBUTION: Stratfor source
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Former intelligence analyst in Afghanistan.
SOURCE Reliability : (new source not sure yet)
ITEM CREDIBILITY: (not sure yet)

This is someone that I spoke to post the Kunduz attack (August 2) at the German security office. These are the main questions I asked after the attack: There is quite a bit here. If you have any questions you want asked let me know.

Questions I asked:
What do you think will happen with Kunduz? does it appear that the security situation will get worse? Any idea what the Taliban structure in Kunduz is currently looking like?

His response :
Dear Hoor,

Many thanks for your reply. It's great to discuss analytical intricacies with someone at Stratfor, which I've been reading and greatly appreciating as a subscriber for some 9 years now.

The company, LANTdefence, actually belongs to EXOP GmbH, a small German security and intelligence firm. The main client base consisted of humanitarian organisations active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly German ones. I traveled a lot to and within Pakistan for a corporate client, building up an intelligence and early warning infrastructure for their project sites. I still have a number of good contacts in the humanitarian and security environment in Afghanistan. Later this year I might actually go back to Afghanistan for a few weeks on a consulting assignment.

Re. the situation in Kunduz: I visited Kunduz several times in 2009 and 2010, and even back then, the security situation was decidedly worse than in Mazar and even Kabul. International aid workers could only move around the city with local escort. Whether the escorts were armed or not pretty much depended on the approach of the respective humanitarian organisation/company: The Germans (GIZ) were generally travelling without armed escort, while the UN and actors like DAI (contractor of USAID) had different approaches. The main character of Kunduz City has long been the fact that it is basically surrounded by Taliban or Taliban-friendly insurgents, who have also been known to have a permanent if somewhat subtle presence in the city. Insurgent influence on the city was always palpable - e.g. when I spent a few days there in May 2010 it was a fact of life that cell phones didn't work between 6pm and 5am because the Taliban forced the providers to switch off networks during the night. Western nationals working with aid agencies could generally not be present beyond city limits. Even locals working for Western organisations were increasingly threatened.

The current situation in Kunduz has further deteriorated, compared to 2010, according to my contacts in Kunduz and Kabul. The German Bundeswehr which is based near Kunduz airport has dramatically failed in their stabilisation efforts, largely due to not understanding the concept of COIN. (I have talked to many German officers every time I was in Kunduz, and have researched the German COIN approach in my 2008 dissertation at King's College London.) This does not bode well for the future security situation in Kunduz. US forces are largely dictating the pace and degree of pressure on the insurgents, but NATO forces in the area are on the backfoot as everyone is well aware that NATO will leave within the next 2-3 years. Local power brokers (Taliban, arbaki, corrupt police, ANA, etc.) are preparing to fight for the power gap that NATO forces will leave behind when they will eventually draw back.

I am not too sure about the insurgent structure in Kunduz at the moment - at least I don't have a complete picture. However, I know from conversations with local police and foreign intel people there that apart from the local Taliban structure, foreign fighters have always posed a particular problem in Kunduz. There has always been talk about 'the Uzbeks', referring to Islamist militants from Uzbekistan who have been known to live in local safehouses in the city. Also, Kunduz police chief Aqtash told me in a 90-min meeting last year that there is a hotspot village about 20km northwest of Kunduz City where according to his estimates around 100 Haqqani militants or sympathisers are based. Furthermore, recent information from German authorities (and Youtube videos) show that there is a small but seemingly constant stream of jihadi fighters with German passports who join the insurgents in the Kunduz area. From what I know these are German militants who first take the usual route Turkey-Zahedan (Iran)-Pakistani tribal areas and are then moved on to Northern Afghanistan via Kunar/Nuristan and Badakhshan.

Lastly, a few words on the 02 Aug attack in Kunduz. I agree with you in considering this a particularly interesting event. While it is not unheard of that local guards employed by international orgs get injured or killed in attacks, direct attacks on Western security companies are quite rare in Afghanistan according to my reading. The January 2011 attack on the 'Finest' supermarket in Kabul was such an attack, but in that case an individual XE employee had been tracked and assaulted while shopping at the supermarket. The attack now on LANTdefence (and their local partner Kabora) is therefore a significant thing in my view. Such a suicide attack after just one year of presence in Kunduz is certainly a setback - other Western security companies have operated in Kunduz for years without getting hit. The fact that the Taliban have hightlighted the attack in their claim of responsibility as being against a 'German intelligence centre' leaves no doubt that it was LANTdefence/EXOP that was the intended target. The problem for LANTdefence/EXOP were always the, let's say, close ties to German intelligence that did certainly not go unnoticed among local house staff, local guards and drivers etc. Plenty of opportunities for the Taliban to gather target intel, if the right sort of pressure is put on the families of local staff, for example. On the other side, almost all foreign security companies are rumoured to have intelligence ties, so the Taliban could very well have only done some guess-work.

The attack was apparently meant to be a strong warning against the company, but was not actually designed to annihilate it completely. (The main LANTdefence office is in Kabul anyway.) I know the compound in Kunduz pretty well, and any attacker could have expected to run into resistance from anything between 6 and 10 armed guards and their German ex-army supervisors. Still, only two insurgent gunmen stormed the house after the initial blast that opened the main gate. They were not killed by responding police, but detonated their explosives belts themselves after 1-2 hours of firefight.

The attack will certainly have implications for the security of foreign aid workers, especially Germans in the area and probably country-wide. As I said before, LANTdefence, partnering with Kabora, is responsible for all GIZ physical security all over Afghanistan. Now that LANTdefence themselves have become the target of an attack and have been singled out by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as 'German intelligence', the company will be forced to drastically step up their own security measures, which leaves less bandwidth for protecting their clients. Also, if for example the Kabul HQ of the company would be attacked, the neighbouring GIZ building on one side, and the other neighbours, the French NGO ACF, would be severely affected as well. It is surely a problem when a security provider becomes a security risk themselves.

Anyway - I could go on forever but have to cut short now. I hope my info is useful for you to even better understand the local context. As I said in my initial message, if you plan to incorporate some of the more sensitive info into your analyses, such as the background on LANTdefence/EXOP, that's fine, but please do not hint at whom you have it from. If you have questions on the above or on anything else, don't hesitate to get back in touch.

Thanks and all best,

Hoor Jangda
Tactical Analyst
Mobile: 281 639 1225
Email: [email protected]

Michael Wilson
Director of Watch Officer Group, STRATFOR
Office: (512) 744 4300 ex. 4112
[email protected]

Hoor Jangda
Tactical Analyst
Mobile: 281 639 1225
Email: [email protected]


Very Important

when i am reading this post i am really shocked the German's security office are there how is it possible and what he done..?
Event Security Companies London

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top