Tell us about Sediqi Security Services.
Sediqi Security Services (SSS) has been operating as a licensed security provider in Afghanistan since 2006. As an ANSI/ASIS PSC.1:2012, ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 18788:2015 certified security firm, SSS provides security services at par with international standards. The company is a member of both the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA) and the International Stability Operations Associations (ISOA).
We are one of the few national security companies in Afghanistan with the ability to run any type of security contract. We provide static guards, individual body guards, mobile security teams, site managers and personal security detachment. Our experience enables us to provide well-trained, professional security personnel capable of performing in all fields of the security industry. We also have the added advantage of having a security and medical advice team of international consultants and operational management mentors, who have a vast experience in security management worldwide. We have a 24hr advisory service, which liaises with our local and international advisory team for all security and medical duties the company performs.
While ICoCA has a number of Member companies operating in Afghanistan, Sediqi Security Services is the only Member Company headquartered in the country. So why did the company join ICoCA, and what impact has Membership had?
SSS joined ICoCA for a number of reasons. First, to be recognized internationally and credited as a certified security operator with high quality, and international guidelines to follow. Second, SSS respects human rights and cares about its clients and their safety. As these are also the main principles of ICoCA, joining the Association was a natural fit. Since ICoCA monitors the performance of its members, SSS as a member is able to demonstrate its proper implementation of codes and maintenance of high standards. After joining ICOCA, Sediqi has become more competent and equally qualified to operate any type of security contract. Being a Member of ICoCA has gained us confidence and trust from clients.
What are the challenges operating as a responsible private security company in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is one of the countries considered to be a red zone. There are a lot of threats and risks experienced by security companies in the country. The political situation and political decision-making can greatly affect private security providers. New government regulation can prevent private security companies from operating, their licenses to operate can be withdrawn. Power shifts, political transitions and incidents can all cause threats. On top of this, political chaos can lead to attacks on clients, cause harm to security personnel and there can be consequences following such incidents. SSS is not only responsible for our client’s lives but also for our own foreign and local personnel.
The unpredictability of the security situation can be another challenge. A lot of terrorist attacks and activities can make security jobs more difficult and sensitive. Implementation of Human Rights policies which can be difficult in some parts. For example, UN charter employment rules indicate that anyone over 18 and with special trainings can qualify for security positions but the government of Afghanistan has different rule stating that private companies can only hire people over 25. The government itself is allowed to hire people over 18, so only the government can recruit young people. Recruiting reliable personnel can be difficult because background checks and hiring processes can be challenging in Afghanistan. We take a cautious and careful approach when recruiting. And of course, being in a red zone means insurance is costly for us compared to other countries.
Sediqi Security Services is currently in the process of obtaining ICoCA certification. Can you tell us about this?
Sediqi became a member of ICoCA in 2019 as part of their obligation to the highest standards and has been benefiting from the accreditation and guidelines ever since. After the realization of the importance of raising the standards of our company both for the purpose of safety and human rights commitment, SSS has decided to apply for ICoCA certification, which we’re looking forward to obtaining. While we were selecting our Certification Body we wanted an accredited body. We looked to ICoCA for background and experience in providing guidelines specific for a private security company. Being a Member of ICoCA has qualified us for so many business opportunities. Being a Member of the Association has also enabled us to establish good relationships with other companies, through their events and the General Assembly.
Our company’s operation has also become much more efficient and disciplined since the adaptation of ISO 9001, ISO 18788, PSC-1 and ICoCA. Having a set of specific rules to follow have added to the professionalism of Sediqi. This includes better training of staff and personnel and making us more competent and competitive internationally.
What should ICoCA be doing to encourage more Afghan security companies to join the Association and raise industry standards in the country?
I see a lot of companies that don’t have the necessary information on certification and might not know the benefits of becoming certified. The biggest suggestion that we would have is to raise awareness of Afghan companies that raising their standards and competencies will enhance their quality and performance. ICoCA can do this is through its website and by leveraging local partnerships to organize in-country events, sending representatives where they don’t have a physical presence. I see a lot of foreign companies doing the same in Afghanistan. By inviting security companies to these gatherings, they can explain to them the process and benefits of ICoCA and certification that will help their performance.