View Full Version : German/Balkan-linked company accused of drug smuggling in Afghanistan

Austin Kelley
02-27-2010, 12:09 PM


German company accused of drug smuggling in Afghanistan

A German waste management firm employed by the NATO mission in Afghanistan has been accused of involvement in drug smuggling. Allegations against Ecolog and the Macedonian family behind it date back to the war in Kosovo.

Allegations have surfaced that a German-based company contracted by NATO's ISAF troops in Afghanistan may have been involved in smuggling drugs out of the country.

"There is a chance that drugs or other such things have been smuggled," NATO General Egon Ramms, chief at ISAF headquarters in the Netherlands told German public broadcaster NDR.

The German general confirmed that an investigation was underway into allegations that Dusseldorf-based Ecolog used contracts with NATO or ISAF for illegal activities. The firm had been working for NATO in Afghanistan since 2003, Ramms said.

Ecolog dismissed the allegations as "absurd," telling Deutsche Welle in an e-mail message that none of the accusations made against it were true.

"Since 2002, the company has been a reliable partner to both NATO and the German military Bundeswehr in crisis regions," Ecolog said.

Allegations date back to Kosovo war

Ecolog is employed by ISAF to handle laundry services at various locations in Kabul as well as garbage disposal at the military airport and ISAF headquarters in the Afghan capital. The company had been in charge of fuel deliveries to NATO troops in the past.

According to NDR, initial allegations against Ecolog and the Macedonian-Albanian family behind the company date back to the war in Kosovo. Then NATO-led KFOR troops had already suggested there may have been links between the Destani family and organized crime.

NDR quoted a current confidential KFOR report as saying that "the Destani family from Tetovo controls crime and smuggling activities at the Kosovar-Macedonian border."

Ecolog contracts under scrutiny

"This has only now come to my attention," said ISAF General Ramms. "Of course this will automatically trigger an investigation to see whether Ecolog is still a respectable business partner for us."

NDR reported that information regarding the suspicions about the company was readily available in NATO's databases.

Ecolog's two contracts with NATO could be cancelled, should the allegations turn out to be justified.

The German government has confirmed that it is aware of the investigations into the company and is reviewing its contracts with Ecolog. The Defense Ministry's 2010 budget includes contracts worth around 50 million euros ($68 million) with the firm.