Friday, February 10, 2012

A Must-Read Piece for our Readers with Interests in Afghanistan

For the benefit of our readers with business or public-sector interests in Afghanistan, please see the link below to a timely and excellent Associated Press article entitled, "Afghan Private Security Handover Looking Messy."

COMMENT: The newly-created Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), which will work under the Afghan Interior Ministry, is scheduled to activate on March 21, 2012, when some 11,000 security guards now working for private security companies will become Afghan government employees.

Interestingly, international firms called "risk management companies," are expected to manage the guards, ostensibly to ensure adherence to international best-practices.

Yet, in an organizationally bizarre sequence of events, the guards will be employed and accountable to the Interior Ministry. Exactly how are they going to follow directions from an RMC?

This new level of infrastructure in a country which according to Transparency International ( is the fourth most corrupt country in the world out of 182 nations, is destined to flounder.

Although the monthly cost of guard service will increase under the APPF, the much larger risk for foreign companies operating in Afghanistan is whether the guards will be trustworthy.

The only entities that that don't have to accept the AFFP guards is NATO and diplomatic missions.

One senior Afghan minister brashly stated that there would not be the possibility of corruption emerging from the AFFP solely because it will be a legal, government entity of the Afghan government. Perhaps he has read too many fairy tales.

Whether the AFFP ever gets off the ground or not is very much up in the air, but the underlying message is that Afghanistan would actually prefer all foreigners to just go away.

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