A new report from the State Department Inspector General's Office found that a private security firm in Afghanistan hired more than 400 Nepalese nationals who lacked training and English languages skills to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
According to the report, ArmorGroup of North America (AGNA) was awarded a contract from the Department of State in July 2007 to protect the embassy. Through June 2010, AGNA has been allocated $97.5 million by the State Department.
The IG office found that while staff of about 1,600 personnel at the Kabul embassy have been kept safe, the people who were hired to protect them were sub-par. The Nepalese nationals were hired by ArmorGroup with no background investigations. They had little or no training, spoke little English and many had little or no skill with firearms. In addition, ArmorGroup did not supply the guards with weapons as dictated by the contract for more than two years. An estimated 101 U.S. weapons are unaccounted or missing, costing the government $431,000, according to the report.
Bomb sniffing dogs hired by a subcontractor to ArmorGroup were not using the right procedures for explosives detection. Auditors estimate that ArmorGroup, a part of Wackenhut, could be penalized $6 million for posting guards without proper English training.
The report identified that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) "did not thoroughly scrutinize Nepalese guards hired by AGNA, allowing guards without experience, training, or background investigations to perform security duty."
The ArmorGroup was the subject of a Sharyl Attkisson investigation last year.