As many as 56 private security companies have been dissolved since President Hamid Karzai issued a decree disbanding all such firms on August 17, an official said. "These firms were operating as sub-companies in different provinces of the country," Maj. Gen. Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, chief of the counterterrorism department at the Ministry of Interior said. He revealed the ministry had collected 2,544 pieces of weapons from the dissolved companies. Some of the weapons have been handed over to Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) officials. The weapons included rockets, machineguns, Kalashnikovs and pistols, he said, adding about 5,000 employees of the firms had been rendered jobless. "If they are willing, they can join Afghan security organs," Sayedzada said.