Bear in mind that 2014 is the deadline for Afghanistan assuming responsibility for its own security. This is a date the whole world has an interest in because either Afghanistan will be a more or less stable country —or it will lapse back into the chaotic and destabilized state it was after the Soviets left in 1989.
We all recall how that turned out.
The Afghan government and the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are transferring private security company (PSC) operations to the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), a new Afghan government force.
But substantial uncertainty, to put it politely, and skepticism —to put it more bluntly – persists over APPF’s ability to handle the job. Even more importantly, how it plans to absorb the commanders and former fighters who currently provide the bulk of PSC workforces.
It takes no great imagination to realize that the existence of a huge and suddenly‐unemployed armed force could become a significant problem. It’s part of the larger problem of demobilization and disarmament that Afghanistan will face with projected cuts to Afghan National Security Forces and the any reintegration of former insurgents under a likely peace deal.
Last month, Matthieu Aikins at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University assessed the dicey situation in Contracting the Commanders: Transition and the Political Economy of Afghanistan’s Private Security Industry.
Aikins argues that the U.S. and ISAF focus on nation‐building as the key to trying to stabilize Afghanistan isn’t the most important remedy: