Report Details Problems for Afghan Security Force Plan
The New York Times November 2, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai’s plan to disband private security companies that protect billions of dollars worth of aid projects and replace them with government forces is fraught with problems and unlikely to meet the president’s March deadline to complete the transition, according to a six-month assessment of the program.
The assessment, conducted by NATO and the Afghan Interior Ministry, outlines dozens of issues that have slowed the development of the new security force and raises questions about the government’s capacity to carry out and sustain the program and others as international aid and military support dwindle in coming years.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, comes as international development companies are becoming increasingly worried about the security of their workers, many of whom are Afghans.
Mr. Karzai has said that replacing the private companies with his country’s forces is an important step toward Afghan sovereignty. Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has also made it a central issue, according to a Western official.
“It’s become a top priority because if it doesn’t work, everything grinds to a halt,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “If it isn’t sorted out, everyone will pull out because they don’t want some fly-by-night security protecting them.”
NATO, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development are setting up a task force that could grow to more than 170 people to advise and help train the guard force, according to a senior American official and a senior NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Pentagon will also be asking Congress to appropriate $35 million to $40 million in new and reallocated money to pay for the task force, a senior NATO official said
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