US company in hot water over Afghan video

2012-10-18 12:02
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Washington - A private security company working for the US government in Afghanistan is in hot water after a video surfaced allegedly showing several of its employees drunk and on drugs, US broadcaster ABC reported on Wednesday.

The video posted on the website of ABC purportedly taken at an operations centre belonging to US defence contractor Jorge Scientific shows men with nude torsos downing vodka shots and wrestling with each other.

Another man, identified as the medic of the group, is shown in a dazed state after shooting up with Ketamine, a strong anaesthetic.

Contractors working for the US Army are banned from the use of alcohol and drugs.

The cell phone video, shot earlier this year, was provided to ABC by two former employees of the company, Jorge Scientific, who have filed a lawsuit against it.

"They endangered Jorge employees, the US mission, and US military personnel," claims the lawsuit obtained by ABC.

The two men filing the suit worked as armed security officers in Kabul as part of a $47m contract the company had to train Afghan police in counter-insurgency.

Dismissals

They told ABC they quit in disgust and out of fear their own safety was at risk due to the behaviour of their colleagues.

In a statement, Jorge Scientific - which has won almost $1bn in US government contracts - said it had taken "taken decisive action to correct the unacceptable behaviour of a limited number of employees" and hired an independent investigation team to carry out a probe.

An unspecified number of employees, including a former senior executive and "several others mentioned in the complaint" no longer work for the company, it said.

The Pentagon takes "all allegations of inappropriate behaviour by contractors and service members very seriously", Commander Bill Speaks, a spokesperson, said.

The US Army's Criminal Investigation Division was looking into the allegations, he added, but declined to provide any details.

According to ABC, at least one US Army major - a female - regularly joined the parties and engaged in sexual activities at the company's facility.

Almost 114 000 contractors worked for the Pentagon in Afghanistan as of 1 July, more than the 90 000 US soldiers deployed there, according to official statistics.

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