Karzai vs. the Security Contractors

In his inauguration speech yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai set a five-year timeline for Afghan security forces to take the lead in securing the country. The Times (UK) misleadingly headlined that, “Karzai: Foreign troops out of Afghanistan in five years.”

But more interesting, because more realistic, he also set a two-year deadline for national and international security contractors to end their operations in the country. And by calling on national Afghan security forces to take over their roles, he leaves it a bit unclear whether when he refers to Afghan security contractors, he means “arm the tribes”-type militias. Here’s the relevant quote, from the Times (UK):

“The goal of a powerful national government can be realized by the stronger presence of national security forces in all parts of the country,” he told dignitaries in his inauguration speech. “Within the next two years we want operations by all private national and international security firms to be ended and their duties delegated to the Afghan security forces.”

Tea leaf reading, perhaps, but intriguing, especially when it comes time to put paid on that check.

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