AFGHANISTAN has finally taken a bold step and banned eight foreign private security firms, including the former Blackwater now known as Xe and White Eagle Security Services. Both Xe and White Eagle were providing security for the Afghan government, the US military and NGOs and Blackwater had charges of murder of Afghans pending against it. There are around 52 private security contractors in Afghanistan and the Afghan government plans to have them all out by January 2011. They have been accused of running all manner of mafia activities and regarding themselves above the law. This move should be an eye opener for Pakistan which is also seeing a host of security companies from Xe to Dynacorps running amok in the land obeying no national laws and riding roughshod over the citizens. Their activities are covert and clearly much of the US intelligence and security work has been outsourced to them. Their disruption of the lives of Pakistanis and their questionable activities have been issues of concern in Pakistan for some time now. It is ironic that Afghanistan, which is under US/NATO occupation, has managed to deal firmly with such companies while the Pakistani state seems unable to act firmly against any of these companies despite overwhelming evidence of their wrongdoings. It is time Pakistan moved to send these companies packing just as it needs to move and delink itself from the growing military attacks against Pakistani territory and people from NATO and US drones. NATO has apologised for the attack on the FC post but has not offered any apology for the intrusions into Pakistani territory that killed Pakistani civilians. Nor has it ensured that it will not intrude again for the same hostile purpose. Such a selective apology should be totally unacceptable to the Pakistani government and the supply route should remain closed while the second one which has remained open should also be shut permanently. For Pakistan the costs of this route are far greater than any minor benefit that may possibly be ensuing. NATO is already under fire in Afghanistan for increasingly killing civilians. It has no business being in this region to begin with and it should be made to exit. In any case, it has absolutely no mandate to intrude into Pakistan and Pakistan is under no obligation to allow it any access at all through its territory. On what basis is our envoy in Washington assuring NATO of the reopening of the supply line relatively quickly when the general mood in the country is not to do so at all. In fact, the Senate has passed a resolution demanding the Pakistan military bring down the next NATO helicopter that intrudes into Pakistani territory. It is high time Pakistan rid itself of the excess baggage of the US, its private security operatives and NATO so that it can set its own house in order and reformulate its security policies in keeping with its indigenous needs not US diktat.