Karzai Backs Off: Some Security Contractors Can Continue in Afghanistan

Ban Won't Apply to Many Working for NATO

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has backed off pledges for a full ban of all private security contractors across the nation today, announcing in a new statement that officials will permit companies to work in a number of situations.

Based on the president’s decree, those firms that provide security for embassies, diplomatic convoys, diplomatic residences, international military bases and their depots can continue operation within these limits,” according to the statement.

This by and large means that the security firms working for the US and its NATO allies won’t be affected by the ban. Questions have grown about the reliability of the contractors, with many of them reportedly being Taliban plants.

But Karzai’s ban was not based primarily on questions of reliability but rather on his hopes that in putting the 40-50 thousand private contractors out of work would mean a bigger recruitment poll for the police and army. The national security forces have struggled with recruitment primarily because of the enormous danger and low pay involved with the job.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.