Karzai Announces Two Month Delay on Contractor Ban

Faced With Mass Cancellation of Aid Projects, Karzai Backs Off Again

by Jason Ditz, October 27, 2010

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has backed off his wholesale ban on security contractors yet again today, announcing that he will agree to a two month delay to the already limited bannings taking effect.

Karzai had been promising a full ban on all private security forces for months, but then earlier this month announced that the ban wouldn’t apply to those hired to work on NATO bases, diplomatic convoys, embassies and supply depots.

Even this was criticized by Western officials, however, and led to announcements that some $1.5 billion in US reconstruction projects were to be canceled over lack of security. Karzai had previously raised the prospect of revisions, but it seems that even this has been shelved in favor of backing off the ban entirely, at least for now.

President Karzai had previously said the ban was about providing more potential recruits for the national police force, by driving some 40,000-50,000 private contractors out of work. Whether the ban ever takes place now remains to be seen, but it seems clear that it will have minimal impact on the contractor industry if it does.

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