Afghani sovereignty and self-determination may be making success even more distant. The unilateral decision by the Karzai government to call a halt to the employment of private security contractors means that net, net, the surge will be made meaningless. It will be spent on support functions not “winning the war.”
“The security companies have to go.” – Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar
From the beginning there have been complaints that private firms are poorly regulated, reckless and effectively operate outside local law. They certainly operate outside the constructs of the traditional laws of land warfare. This was viewed as an unique advantage initially, but incidents like the Blackwater shooting in which 17 Iraq civilians were killed in a Baghdad square have created contentious issues with allies and the host nations.
Forces in Afghanistan, particularly our NATO partners’, manage to avoid most direct contact with the enemy and casualties by assigning the defense of their support functions, convoys and installations, to contractors. Thus the coalition’s ISAF acronym has come to mean: I Saw Americans Fighting.