Feb 27th, 2012
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  1. Re: [alpha] INSIGHT - GERMANY/AFGHANISTAN - German security company in Afghanistan
  2. Email-ID 5008523
  3. Date 2011-08-04 22:20:06
  4. From
  5. To
  6. List-Name
  7. Good work, Hoor.
  9. On 8/4/11 4:10 PM, Hoor Jangda wrote:
  11. Kunduz isn't part of phase 1 of the handover so there are foreign forces
  12. still in the province.
  14. On Thursday, 8/4/11 3:10 PM, Kristen Cooper wrote:
  16. Is Kunduz among the initial areas where they are trying to hand over
  17. security to the Afghan forces?
  19. On 8/4/11 3:50 PM, Michael Wilson wrote:
  21. PUBLICATION: Check with Hoor first
  22. SOURCE: New source, DE1000
  23. ATTRIBUTION: Stratfor source
  24. SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Former intelligence analyst in Afghanistan.
  25. SOURCE Reliability : (new source not sure yet)
  26. ITEM CREDIBILITY: (not sure yet)
  31. This is someone that I spoke to post the Kunduz attack (August 2) at
  32. the German security office. These are the main questions I asked
  33. after the attack: There is quite a bit here. If you have any
  34. questions you want asked let me know.
  36. Questions I asked:
  37. What do you think will happen with Kunduz? does it appear that the
  38. security situation will get worse? Any idea what the Taliban
  39. structure in Kunduz is currently looking like?
  41. His response :
  42. Dear Hoor,
  44. Many thanks for your reply. It's great to discuss analytical
  45. intricacies with someone at Stratfor, which I've been reading and
  46. greatly appreciating as a subscriber for some 9 years now.
  48. The company, LANTdefence, actually belongs to EXOP GmbH, a small
  49. German security and intelligence firm. The main client base
  50. consisted of humanitarian organisations active in Afghanistan and
  51. Pakistan, particularly German ones. I traveled a lot to and within
  52. Pakistan for a corporate client, building up an intelligence and
  53. early warning infrastructure for their project sites. I still have a
  54. number of good contacts in the humanitarian and security environment
  55. in Afghanistan. Later this year I might actually go back to
  56. Afghanistan for a few weeks on a consulting assignment.
  58. Re. the situation in Kunduz: I visited Kunduz several times in 2009
  59. and 2010, and even back then, the security situation was decidedly
  60. worse than in Mazar and even Kabul. International aid workers could
  61. only move around the city with local escort. Whether the escorts
  62. were armed or not pretty much depended on the approach of the
  63. respective humanitarian organisation/company: The Germans (GIZ) were
  64. generally travelling without armed escort, while the UN and actors
  65. like DAI (contractor of USAID) had different approaches. The main
  66. character of Kunduz City has long been the fact that it is basically
  67. surrounded by Taliban or Taliban-friendly insurgents, who have also
  68. been known to have a permanent if somewhat subtle presence in the
  69. city. Insurgent influence on the city was always palpable - e.g.
  70. when I spent a few days there in May 2010 it was a fact of life that
  71. cell phones didn't work between 6pm and 5am because the Taliban
  72. forced the providers to switch off networks during the night.
  73. Western nationals working with aid agencies could generally not be
  74. present beyond city limits. Even locals working for Western
  75. organisations were increasingly threatened.
  77. The current situation in Kunduz has further deteriorated, compared
  78. to 2010, according to my contacts in Kunduz and Kabul. The German
  79. Bundeswehr which is based near Kunduz airport has dramatically
  80. failed in their stabilisation efforts, largely due to not
  81. understanding the concept of COIN. (I have talked to many German
  82. officers every time I was in Kunduz, and have researched the German
  83. COIN approach in my 2008 dissertation at King's College London.)
  84. This does not bode well for the future security situation in Kunduz.
  85. US forces are largely dictating the pace and degree of pressure on
  86. the insurgents, but NATO forces in the area are on the backfoot as
  87. everyone is well aware that NATO will leave within the next 2-3
  88. years. Local power brokers (Taliban, arbaki, corrupt police, ANA,
  89. etc.) are preparing to fight for the power gap that NATO forces will
  90. leave behind when they will eventually draw back.
  92. I am not too sure about the insurgent structure in Kunduz at the
  93. moment - at least I don't have a complete picture. However, I know
  94. from conversations with local police and foreign intel people there
  95. that apart from the local Taliban structure, foreign fighters have
  96. always posed a particular problem in Kunduz. There has always been
  97. talk about 'the Uzbeks', referring to Islamist militants from
  98. Uzbekistan who have been known to live in local safehouses in the
  99. city. Also, Kunduz police chief Aqtash told me in a 90-min meeting
  100. last year that there is a hotspot village about 20km northwest of
  101. Kunduz City where according to his estimates around 100 Haqqani
  102. militants or sympathisers are based. Furthermore, recent information
  103. from German authorities (and Youtube videos) show that there is a
  104. small but seemingly constant stream of jihadi fighters with German
  105. passports who join the insurgents in the Kunduz area. From what I
  106. know these are German militants who first take the usual route
  107. Turkey-Zahedan (Iran)-Pakistani tribal areas and are then moved on
  108. to Northern Afghanistan via Kunar/Nuristan and Badakhshan.
  110. Lastly, a few words on the 02 Aug attack in Kunduz. I agree with you
  111. in considering this a particularly interesting event. While it is
  112. not unheard of that local guards employed by international orgs get
  113. injured or killed in attacks, direct attacks on Western security
  114. companies are quite rare in Afghanistan according to my reading. The
  115. January 2011 attack on the 'Finest' supermarket in Kabul was such an
  116. attack, but in that case an individual XE employee had been tracked
  117. and assaulted while shopping at the supermarket. The attack now on
  118. LANTdefence (and their local partner Kabora) is therefore a
  119. significant thing in my view. Such a suicide attack after just one
  120. year of presence in Kunduz is certainly a setback - other Western
  121. security companies have operated in Kunduz for years without getting
  122. hit. The fact that the Taliban have hightlighted the attack in their
  123. claim of responsibility as being against a 'German intelligence
  124. centre' leaves no doubt that it was LANTdefence/EXOP that was the
  125. intended target. The problem for LANTdefence/EXOP were always the,
  126. let's say, close ties to German intelligence that did certainly not
  127. go unnoticed among local house staff, local guards and drivers etc.
  128. Plenty of opportunities for the Taliban to gather target intel, if
  129. the right sort of pressure is put on the families of local staff,
  130. for example. On the other side, almost all foreign security
  131. companies are rumoured to have intelligence ties, so the Taliban
  132. could very well have only done some guess-work.
  134. The attack was apparently meant to be a strong warning against the
  135. company, but was not actually designed to annihilate it completely.
  136. (The main LANTdefence office is in Kabul anyway.) I know the
  137. compound in Kunduz pretty well, and any attacker could have expected
  138. to run into resistance from anything between 6 and 10 armed guards
  139. and their German ex-army supervisors. Still, only two insurgent
  140. gunmen stormed the house after the initial blast that opened the
  141. main gate. They were not killed by responding police, but detonated
  142. their explosives belts themselves after 1-2 hours of firefight.
  144. The attack will certainly have implications for the security of
  145. foreign aid workers, especially Germans in the area and probably
  146. country-wide. As I said before, LANTdefence, partnering with Kabora,
  147. is responsible for all GIZ physical security all over Afghanistan.
  148. Now that LANTdefence themselves have become the target of an attack
  149. and have been singled out by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as
  150. 'German intelligence', the company will be forced to drastically
  151. step up their own security measures, which leaves less bandwidth for
  152. protecting their clients. Also, if for example the Kabul HQ of the
  153. company would be attacked, the neighbouring GIZ building on one
  154. side, and the other neighbours, the French NGO ACF, would be
  155. severely affected as well. It is surely a problem when a security
  156. provider becomes a security risk themselves.
  158. Anyway - I could go on forever but have to cut short now. I hope my
  159. info is useful for you to even better understand the local context.
  160. As I said in my initial message, if you plan to incorporate some of
  161. the more sensitive info into your analyses, such as the background
  162. on LANTdefence/EXOP, that's fine, but please do not hint at whom you
  163. have it from. If you have questions on the above or on anything
  164. else, don't hesitate to get back in touch.
  166. Thanks and all best,
  168. --
  169. Hoor Jangda
  170. Tactical Analyst
  171. Mobile: 281 639 1225
  172. Email:
  173. STRATFOR, Austin
  175. --
  176. Michael Wilson
  177. Director of Watch Officer Group, STRATFOR
  178. Office: (512) 744 4300 ex. 4112
  182. --
  183. Hoor Jangda
  184. Tactical Analyst
  185. Mobile: 281 639 1225
  186. Email:
  187. STRATFOR, Austin
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