K Is for Kandahar

Posted November 21, 2003 at 4:43pm

Of all the American powerbrokers registered to represent Afghan interests, the most peculiar may be Four Horsemen International. While the North Carolina-based group’s name may evoke mythical visions of the apocalypse, it refers to the combined nickname of the founders, four Army Special Forces combat veterans who have an “untiring work ethic.”

According to Justice Department filings, the Four Horsemen are working for the Shairzai brothers of Kandahar, with the filing [IMGCAP(1)] noting that “The Shairzai Brothers” are “an Afghan business entity.”

But Gov. Gul Agha Shairzai, an ethnic Pashtun, is in fact the commander controlling the troubled southern Kandahar region of the war-ravaged country, along with family confidants Major Gen. Modh Rafiq Shairzai and Major Gen. Abdul Raziq Shairzai.

While Justice Department records do not detail the activities of the Four Horsemen — Jim Weatherford, John Allen, Gerry Escarfullery and Mike Bergen — a company mission statement and other materials on file note: “The Four Horsemen are the sole representative for our clients, who can deliver emerging markets around the world. We are experts in acting as liaison between governments, the private sector, and our clients.”

And, like so many other organizations, the Four Horsemen place an emphasis on their human resources. “By limiting the operatives to U.S. Army Special Forces qualified personnel, the horsemen can guarantee the professionalism and experience needed to accomplish the goals of their clients,” according to an information sheet filed with the Four Horsemen’s Foreign Agents Registration Act disclosure forms.

Fort Bragg, N.C., home to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, is located adjacent to Fayetteville, where Four Horsemen International is based.

Among others lobbying or advising on issues related to Afghanistan include Piper Rudnick, which is representing the interim government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai pro bono, as well as Bisceglie & Walsh.

According to Justice Department records, Philip S. Smith & Associates is registered as representing Gen. Rashid Dostum, the supreme commander and president of the Afghanistan Northern Alliance.

Cesar Still King. Cesar Conda, a former aide to Vice President Cheney, has signed up BellSouth as a client.

Conda, now a lobbyist with the newly created Navigators, says he will work to “promote their market-based competition policy agenda.”

HealthSouth Gets Help. HealthSouth, the embattled medical company, has hired Clark & Weinstock to help retain its credibility in Washington.

According to lobbying filings culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com, Clark & Weinstock plans to work on health care reform and “issues surrounding reorganization of the company.”

New File-Sharing Firm. As the battle over online copyright issues heats up on Capitol Hill, another major player in the industry is looking to Washington for help.

Sharman Networks has hired the GOP lobbying shop Alexander Strategies and its Democratic partner, the Harbour Group, to brace for the fight.

More Asbestos Clients. The lobbying shop Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher has signed up two clients interested in asbestos legislation.

According to lobbying filings found on PoliticalMoneyLine.com, the firm represents the Fuller-Austin Asbestos Settlement Trust and the NGC Bodily Injury Trust.

Though the legislation is stalled for the year, talks between Democrats and Republicans plan to pick up again early next year.

Kuykendall Lands New Client.  Former Rep. Steven Kuykendall (R-Calif.) has signed up another client to his emerging lobbying practice.

The former Member now represents aerospace company TechFinity Inc., according to lobbying filings.

The documents show that TechFinity wants help getting a few missile defense and space exploration projects authorized and funded.

Kuykendall plans to spend most of his time working on the Defense appropriations bill or the NASA reauthorization bill.