Warlord, Inc. – The Private Security System of Afghanistan

 

Warlord, Inc. – The Private Security System of Afghanistan

 

 

Hannah Gauss

University of Cape Town

May 2014

Table of Contents       

List of Figures. ii

Acronyms. iii

Introduction. 1

 

The Phenomenon Private Security Companies: from Mercenaries to Legal Corporate Entities?  3

1.1      The Three Ideal Types. 4

1.2      Functions of PMSC.. 5

 

About the US Department of Defence, Private Security Companies and Warlords on Highway one  7

2.1   War on Terrorism – What America is doing in Afghanistan. 8

2.2   Outsourcing the War – What the DoD is doing in Afghanistan. 8

2.3   The Linking Piece – Host Nation Trucking. 10

2.4   Watan Risk Management – How to Build a Security Racket and Fund the Insurgency. 11

 

Conclusion. 14

Bibliography. 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List of Figures

 

Source 1: Elliot, J. 2011. Private Security Contractors Protecting Trucks on Afghan highway 1

Source 2: Tierney, 2010. GAO analysis of data from the Consultative Group for the Transport   Sector & USAID……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7

 

 

Acronyms

 

DDR – Disarm, De-mobilise, Reintegrate

DIAG – Disarmament of Illegal Armed Groups

DoD – Department of Defence

GAO – Government Accountability Office

GDP – Gross Domestic Product

HNT – Host Nation Trucking

KBR – Kellog, Brown & Roots

NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

NGO – Non-Governmental Organisation

OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom

PMC – Private Military Company

PMSC – Private Military/Security Company

PSC – Private Security Company

US – United States of America

USAID – U.S. Agency of International Development


Introduction

 

Source 1: Elliot, J. 2011. Private Security Contractors Protecting Trucks on Afghan highway

 

I

n the majority of media presentations private security companies are portrayed as lawless and gun-swinging cowboys in Iraq; modern mercenaries that cannot be controlled. Not at last incidents like the Baghdad shooting at Nisoor Square in 2007 where Blackwater contractors killed 17 civilians led to this perception (Rubin, 2013: 6). Since then the media, academic research and literature focused on US and British security companies violating human rights in Iraq. Until today little research has been done on contractors’ activities in Afghanistan. In 2009 journalist Aram Roston published the article “How the US Funds the Taliban” in The Nation exposing how US contracted security companies were paying warlords and Taliban extortion for safe passage of US supply convoys on Afghan highways (Roston, 2007). Under the umbrella of the US$ 2.6 billion Host Nation Trucking contract security companies’ sub-contracted Afghan vendors and trucking companies linked to insurgency.

        In response the House of Representatives launched an investigation and provided in the report Warlord, Inc. an insight into Afghanistan’s corrupt and extorting security industry. Still, the security sphere in Afghanistan is much more complex and interlinked into politics, national economy, Taliban, local militia and foreign forces than the report makes it seem. One of the reasons for its significance, in contrast to Iraq, is the number of rewarded Afghan security companies making up for over 90 percent of the entire market. Private security companies are not a foreign invasion but a local development in a country shaped by war and Taliban reign, replacing a missing central government. This research seeks to provide a detailed overview of the relation between the US Department of Defence and Afghan private security companies in the case study of Host Nation Trucking contract and Watan Risk Management.

This essay will describe the relationship between Department of Defence and the Afghan private security company Watan Risk Management in regards to the Host Nation Trucking Contract from 2008 to 2011 in Afghanistan. The essay will be divided into two main parts. To begin with it will seek to identify and categorise the phenomenon private security companies in contemporary sense. It will furthermore give a brief overview on what the private security industry in Afghanistan looks like. Secondly, the essay will explore the role of the US Department of Defence contracting PSCs in Afghanistan under the Host Nation Trucking (HNT) contract. It will then elaborate on the activities of Afghan private security companies, as mentioned above; giving the case study of Watan Risk Management a prime contractor under the HNT.

The research will show a triangle relationship between DoD, Watan Risk Management and insurgence under the umbrella of the Host Nation Trucking contract that led to the direct funding of the insurgency.

 

 

 

 

 

The Phenomenon Private Security Companies: from Mercenaries to Legal Corporate Entities?

 

Against the notion that private security companies are a single market of an armed ex-military force reality shows that the international market is far more complex and diverse. Security companies are not all alike and differ in their specialisations, history, operations, and origin, but especially in their definition (Singer, 2007: 88). For a long time the question of terminology and classification has fuelled discussions in the academic world and the media. One of the first associations made with private contractors is the term mercenaries. Famous through their appearance in the Middle Ages and during Crusade missions, or activities on the African continent mercenaries generally carry a negative connotation. The Additional Protocol I to Article 47 by the Geneva Convention 1949 first defined mercenaries as recruited individuals for armed conflict whom private gain is the motivation for participation (Kinsey, 2006: 278). Forty years later the UN Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing & Training of Mercenaries in 1989 forbid their existence (Kinsey, 2006: 137). The question remains: are modern private security companies a development of mercenaries? Some scholars like Carmola (2010) argue that private security companies are nothing more but the modern version of mercenaries as they are paid in self-interest to participate in combat and simultaneously are untrustworthy and unreliable (Carmola, 2010: 12- 16). Positive encounter see private contractors as the replacement of mercenaries being legalised corporate entities; meaning they are conform to business structures and legal doctrines (Kinsey, 2006: 278). This work does not seek to provide an answer to this question but to identify a coherent classification of the phenomenon.

In most literature private contractors are simply defined either as private security companies (PSC) or private military companies (PMC) (Singer, 2007: 89, 90). The distinction here is based on the fact if contractors operate armed or unarmed (Singer, 2007: 89, 90). The National Defence Authorization defined private security contractors as armed employee responsible for the security of constructions, personal or facilities (Schwartz, 2011: 2). A definition for unarmed security companies is missing. Generally, a very questionable distinction, as Singer argued, “when a person pushing a computer button can be just as lethal as another person pulling a trigger” (Singer, 2007: 90). Furthermore, scholars like Isenberg (2008), Singer (2007) or Avant (2005) criticised these definitions as too narrow and too simplifying the complex nature of private contractors. The main argument here is that most companies fit neither nor descriptions accurately and rather present themselves in a hybrid version offering multiple services that are typical for both, private security companies and private military companies (Singer, 2007: 87). As an example the British company ArmorGroup is specialised in, among other things, military training and advice, in logistical support, security services and geographical risk analysis (Carmola, 2010: 22, 23). Therefore later research combined both terms to PMSCs (Private Military/ Security Companies) (Kinsey, 2006: 278). A clear definition of private security/military companies that defines their hybrid-identity is until today still missing.

 

1.1  The Three Ideal Types

 

Though their definition can be vague the classification of private contractors can be drawn from their fields of operations and services. One of the most single important works in this regard has been done by Singer (2001) in his article Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatised Military Industry and its Ramification of International Security in which he defined three ideal types of private contractors (Singer, 2001: 200). Singer’s identification or private contractors lied in their distance to the ‘tip of the spear’ or open combat situation (Singer, 2001: 200). From there three ideal types can be defined as: the operational support, military advice and training, and logistical support (Avant, 2005: 16). His argument is that the closer the company towards the battlefield the greater the command and execution of military operations (Singer, 2001: 200). Specifically the type-one contractors gain public attention in their involvement in open combat (Singer, 2001: 201).  Again, the most prominent example are Blackwater operations in Iraq. However, as argued above the different types are solely idealistic as reality shows private contractors often offer a great variety of services. Avant (2005) emphasises that the greatest difficulties of categorising private security companies is with operational services in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism operations (Avant, 2005: 21). In these operations external and internal security is combined and crisis responds taken up with armed personnel – the grey area of operations (Avant, 2005: 21). The most typical examples are Blackwater or Control-Risk Group alleged to shoot civilians during operations in Iraq (Carmola, 2010: 27). Therefore Singer’s classification of three ideal types of private contractors regarding their activities and operations is one of the essential mechanisms to break down the industry.

 

1.2  Functions of PMSCs

 

The next important aspect is to understand what private contractors do. One of the broader differentiations is their field of action concerning either external security, the protection of borders; or internal security – the protection within borders (Avant, 2005: 16). Again, it needs to be emphasised that the private security/military industry is far more complex than mostly perceived. Activities by private contractors range from administrative tasks in military bases such as laundry, to risk management services, demining or intelligence services for the US Department of Defence (Kinsey, 2006: 100). Private contractors are developing to an essential actor in warfare, as for instance in their role to maintain military weapons (Isenberg, 2008: 45). As weapons become increasingly highly technologized their expertise is necessary to ensure a correct maintenance of weapons like the F-117 Nighthawk fighters, B-2 Spirit bomber and TOW missile systems (Isenberg, 2008: 46). One of the latest trends is the specialisation of security and crime prevention for transnational corporations in the mining and petroleum business, such as Global Risk Holdings (Avant, 2005: 20). Other examples are personal protection like DynCorp escorted the American diplomat Paul Bremer in his office as Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq (Kinsey, 2006: 56).

However, the Afghan private security industry, in comparison to Iraq, shows multiple unique characteristics. To begin with, where in Iraq majorly American and British security companies were hired to provide their services, in Afghanistan the US relied on local companies. It is located that the DoD employed 112, 092 contractors in FY2010 alone (Avant & De Nevers, 2011: 91). The subdivision for hired nationalities is as following: 14 percent of the contractors were American, 16 percent so-called third-nation contractors and over 70 percent Afghan contractors (Avant & De Nevers, 2011: 91). This meant that by 2010 roughly 93 percent of all contractors under the DoD in Afghanistan were locals (Schwartz, 2011: 4).

Furthermore, local private security companies in Afghanistan were a fairly new phenomenon. Before 2001 the provision of security in the historical de-centralised state was pre-dominantly executed by strongmen, local leaders and warlords (Checchina, 2011). Under the notion of nation-building and centralising the power within the Afghan government the implementation of the Disarmament of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) in 2006 that sought to disarm, de-mobilise and reintegrate (DDR) Afghan militia and Taliban forces (Giustozzi, 2008: 170). It was the DIAG that allowed local militia to licence their forces to private security companies (Bhatia & Sedra, 2008: 229). To avoid the implementation of the DIAG and to therefore lose economic and political strong positions Commanders licensed their militia and re-integrated them as official private security companies (Aikins, 2012: 6). However, disarmament was only implemented slowly and with delay as now private security companies could offer attractive operations (Bhatia & Sedra, 2008: 229). Nowadays, according to Afghan’s Minister of Interior, there are roughly 52 licensed PSCs with approximately 25, 000 contractors (Tierney, 2010: 15). Security services in Afghanistan symbolise one of the biggest niche industries in the country. Their services, among other things include personal protection and escorting trucking convoys (see: 2.3 The Linking Piece: Host Nation Trucking, p. 11).

In sum most scholars criticise the distinction between private military companies (PMC) and private security companies (PSC) as not distinctive enough for a complex and multi-faced industry identity of the international security industry. Therefore the joint term PMSC (Private Military/Security Company) is widely adopted. When it comes to the activities of private security companies they need to be analysed individually. The Afghan private security industry differs stark from Iraq as here the Department of Defence majorly relied on local private security companies which, through the DIAG implementation in 2006, are licensed militia forces of local leaders, strongmen or warlords. As the Afghan state has been historically de-centralised private security companies filled one of the biggest niche industries in the country – security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the US Department of Defence, Private Security Companies and Warlords on Highway one

 

Source 2: Tierney, 2010. GAO analysis of data from the Consultative Group for the Transport Sector & USAID

 

In order to understand the roles of both, the US Department of Defence and Afghan Security Companies during the HNT contract, three questions need to be asked. The first question brings the analysis in context: What was America doing in Afghanistan? Secondly, what was the DoD doing in Afghanistan? And at last what did Afghan Private Security Companies do in Afghanistan?

 

 

2.1 War on Terrorism – What America is doing in Afghanistan

 

After the international terrorist organisation al-Qaeda launched a terrorist attack on the New York World Trace Centres and the Pentagon in September, 11 2001 former President George W. Bush declared America’s War on Terror. Following in the aftermath of 9/11 America shortly launched two invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq to bring terrorism to an end (Jones, 2008: 4). Under the name Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) the US allied with the United Kingdom began to attack al-Qaeda and Taliban camps in Afghanistan on October, 7 2001 (Jones, 2008: 29). The goal was to overthrow the reign of Taliban since 1994, and to destroy al-Qaeda cells (Jones, 2008: 29). In coalition with Afghan forces under local leaders such as Abdul Rahid Sasterm, Atta Mohammad Nur and Mohammad Qasim Falin the foreign troops quickly gained control over the territory and overthrew the Taliban reign in Kabul (Jones, 2008: 29). After the overthrow of the Taliban the American-initiated nationan-building process began (Jones, 2008: 29).

 

2.2 Outsourcing the War – What the DoD is doing in Afghanistan

 

Throughout the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan contracting of private security companies reached a new dimension in the history of warfare. Never before had a country relied so excessively on civilians in combat as America did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not at last due to the fact that from 2008 onwards more contracted civilians were employed in Iraq and Afghanistan than soldiers deployed it can be claimed that the United States outsources its war to private security companies (Kinsey, 2006: 21). It is estimated that for the FY2009 and the first half of FY2010 the Department of Defence (DoD), the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) combined spend US$ 35.7 billion on 133, 283 contractors (GAO, 2010: 27). This development had multiple reasons. First, it was believed that by employing contractors limited to a specific operation and time period the efficiency of the operation would be increased (Schwarz, 2011: 5). One of the reasons for this is the high adaptability of contractors to their environment (Schwarz, 2011: 5). Secondly, by outsourcing logistics such as weapon maintenance and escorts the military would be relieved from these tasks and could be focused on military operations (Rubin, 2013: 4). Finally, it was believed that by employing civilians costs for war would be reduced – a notion that would turn out as false (Schwarz, 2011: 5). In conclusion, US departments need security companies specifically in areas where national or military support falls short (Rubin, 2013: 7).

Responsible for the contracting of private security companies are governmental organisations such as the State Department or the Department of Defence, drawing contracts with security companies on specific operations and/or services. These can include military training, intelligence service or logistical support (Isenberg, 2008: 34). Yet, no other government institution employed contractors in such a vast number as the Department of Defence. A GAO report in 2010 estimated that the department contracted over 98, 000 civilians since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq (GAO, 2010: 27). In Afghanistan alone roughly US$50 billion were spent on contractors between FY2005 and FY2011 (Schwartz, 2011: 1). In comparison, eleven years of war (2001 to 2012) in Afghanistan cost the American state up to US$ 557 billion (Aikins, 2012: 7).In 2008 specifically approximately 46, 645 contractors were rewarded with US$ 26. 981million (GAO, 2010: 44). To put the figures into context: the military spending in 2010 was a total of US$ 15.7 billion which equalise the Afghan gross development product (GDP) (Aikins, 2012: 7). Despite the fact that the DoD played multiple significant roles in contracting PMSCs during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq this essay will solely focus on its role in supply US military troops in Afghanistan with material and goods.

Furthermore, despite the media-driven perception of PMSCs involvement in open combat the majority of contractors in Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq, undertook logistical operations (Avant & De Nevers, 2011: 92). Logistical support includes setting up bases for military, catering, laundry, maintenance of weapons and most importantly the transport of material and goods to military bases (Avant, 2005: 20). One of the biggest companies in the industry is Kellog, Brown & Roots (KBR) operating logistics in Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, to just name a few (Avant, 2005: 20). Furthermore logistics are, by far, one of the essential aspects of war. The supply of troops, according to Singer (2007), can directly decide about victory in combat (Singer, 2007: 137). For instance in 2009 the NATO and U.S. military required 1.1 million gallons of fuel per day to fight its war against the Taliban (Tierney, 2010: 6). Generally logistic missions for American troops are undertaken by the Defence Logistics Agency, a sub-agency of the DoD and one of the biggest combat support agencies in the US government (Grasso, 2013: 2). Not so in Afghanistan, one of the most difficult logistic operations America has ever been faced with (Tierney, 2010: 6). The key contract the DoD drew to supply American troops in Afghanistan was called Host Nation Trucking contract.

 

2.3 The Linking Piece – Host Nation Trucking

 

In its original form the Host Nation Trucking (HNT) contract rewarded six private security companies with the logistical support of military supply in Afghanistan (Tierney, 2010: 13, 14). Meaning, private security companies were responsible for the trucking and protection of 3,000 to 4,000 trucks per week supporting US troops with anything necessary from weapons to toilet paper (DeYoung, 2011). Only two months after its implementation in 2009 the contract was expanded with two more so-called vendors and an increase to US$ 2.6 billion funding (Tierney, 2010: 10). By then the eight prime contractors consisted of six local security companies such as Watan Risk Management and NCL Holdings (Tierney, 2010: 13, 14). The HNT ordered majorly Afghan private security companies to provide over 70 percent of the DoD’s total goods, fuels and other materials (Schwartz, 2011: 14). Yet, as revealed in the investigative report Warlord, Inc. some of the PSCs only had up to 600 trucks available, possessed no trucks, or simply no experience in trucking (Hammons, 2010: 10). What happened then was later described by Schwartz (2011) as “a lightning rod for what is perceived as wrong with contracting in Afghanistan (Schwartz, 2011: 14). The prime contractors lacking the capacity of trucking supply and/or security capacity sub-contracted local Afghan trucking and private security companies (Tierney, 2010: 13).

There are two reasons for this development that are of significance for the role Afghan PSC played in the dilemma Host Nation Trucking. First, Section 4.9 in the contract obliged contractors to be responsible for their own security (Schwartz, 2011: 14). Therefore the PSC subcontracted local PSCs for their own security – the protector becomes the protected (see Section 1.4). Secondly, and this ties directly with reason one, Afghan highways are one of the roughest, most difficult, most dangerous and the only passages to transport goods in the country (Tierney, 2010: 7). Here it is necessary to elaborate on the geographical circumstances of Afghanistan and its highways, as such define one of the most crucial factors in conflict analysis.

Supplying troops in Afghanistan is one of the most complex and difficult operations the US government was faced with and mostly because of Afghanistan’s geographical and infrastructural circumstances. To begin with all goods and material are imported via air through Kabul (Roston, 2009). From there destinations can only be reached over great distances on the highways, the only established traffic infrastructure (Tierney, 2010: 14). One of the essential supply routes for American warfare in Afghanistan is highway one linking two of the biggest military camps, Bagram and Kandahar (Gall, 2008). Highway one reaches from Kabul in the northeast to the 483km distanced Kandahar in the southeast passing long remote areas and unguarded sides (Source 2). A second issue of logistical operations on the highway is insecurity. NGO and military reports inform about a criminal network of extortion and security rackets along the highways, specifically highway one (Filkins, 2010). The Afghan highways have little or no military control (Tierney, 2010: 30). Because of such highway one is one of the strategic most important supply routes for U.S. and NATO troops, as well as one of the more vulnerable ones.

 

2.4 Watan Risk Management – How to Build a Security Racket and Fund the Insurgency

 

There are two distinct circumstances that indicate a link between Afghan PSCs and insurgency security rackets on the highways. First, the ownership of private security companies is deeply linked to Afghan politics and economy. Private security companies are owned by politicians and people linked to President Karzai, or strongmen and warlords (Aikins, 2012: 5). One example is the local company Watan Risk Group. Founded by Ahmad and Rashid Popal, cousins of President Hamid Karzai, Watan Risk Group is one of the key security companies for trucking and convoy escort in the country (Tierney, 2010: 22). To fulfil security services (“we guarantee your protection”) Watan Risk Group maintains its own private military/security force called Watan Risk Management so the webpage (Watanrisk, 2014). There are two links between Watan Risk Management and political figures and Commanders of imminent significance for this research that indicate the involvement in extortion on highway one. The company, as one of the eight prime contractors of the HNT, is along with Asia Security Group controlled by the tribal leader Ahmad Wali Karzai (Forseberg & Kagan, 2010: 1). Karzai was the unofficial/official “centre of a number of networks in Kandahar” as described by Forseberg (2010). Meaning, the Kandahar family is one of most influential families and centre to politics in the province, holding powerful trading business control in the province (Forseberg, 2010: 2). Karzai is the brother of President Karzai and replaced Governor Asadullah Khalid in Kandahar with Karzai in 2005 (Aikins, 2012: 8, 9). Security companies specifically in the south are a strong source of income and employment, as local police forces are too weak to control the provinces (Forseberg & Kagan, 2010: 4). This gap is filled with the services of the private companies Asia Security Group and Watan Risk Management.

Secondly, local Afghan security companies either hold or are directly linked to powerful security rackets on Afghan highways. As mentioned above the prime contractors under the HNT subcontracted local trucking companies and PSC for the American supply chain. The major subcontracted security force was run by Commander Ruhullah and his 600 armed guards to escort the convoys to Kandahar (Roston, 2009). The investigations in Warlord, Inc. showed that Commander Ruhullah was operating (licensed) under Watan Risk Management and provided security for the majority of prime contractors in the HNT (Tierney, 2010: 21, 22). The investigations states Ruhullah was a local warlord known to be in control of highway one; as well as the investigation accused him to be linked to a security racket including the Taliban (Tierney, 2010: 17). A way of extortion within the security rackets, as described by Aikins, is the simulation of increased insecurity on the highways (Aikins, 2012: 7). For such private security companies that escort convoys fight simulated ambush against insurgences (Aikins, 2012: 7). The incidents and ambushes between Kabul and Kandahar made it seem as if insecurity for supply convoys is increasing (Zyck, 2012: 45). Therefore, PSCs like Watan Risk Management demanded a “security payment” for a safe escort, which essentially were bribes for a safe escort without attacks (Tierney, 2010: 34, 35). During the investigation Commander Ruhullah stated that the protection of convoys costs between US$ 1,500 per truck, depending on the goods carried (Tierney, 2010: 23). Additionally, the project manager of Afghan American Army Service (AAA), another prime contractors under the HNT, confirmed that “security payments” had to be made to Commander Ruhullah in order not to be attacked (Roston, 2009). He further stated that if those payments were not made attacks automatically increased (Tierney, 2010:35). In between 2009 and 2010 Watan Risk Management, in collaboration with Commander Ruhullah, escorted approximately 10, 000 trucks on highway one (Tierney, 2010: 37). From these 10, 000 trucks only seven trucks were reported lost and two truck drivers kept hostage (Tierney, 2010: 37). Another trucking company reported that in the same period while escorting 15, 000 trucks only six trucks were reported missing (Tierney, 2010: 37). In comparison: in between 2008 and 2009 the trucking industry reported increasing attacks on convoys, kidnappings, ambush attacks by Taliban, IEDs and militia attacks (Tierney, 2010: 14). According to military reports IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks increased from 3, 1867 attacks in 2008 to around 8, 1591 IED attacks only a year later (Tierney, 2010: 14). The numbers indicate that under Commander Ruhullah private security companies were extorted for a safe passage on the Afghan highway. Furthermore, since the development of the trucking industry in the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Afghan highways came under the control of tribal leaders and warlords working security rackets (Nojumi, 2002: 105). New businesses formed across ethnical and geographical distances in the country (Nojumi, 2002: 105). Another example of the security racket private security companies build is the employment of ArmourGroup in 2010 to secure the Sindand Air Base (Rubin, 2013: 8). ArmourGroup sub-contracted two local strongmen, Nadir Khan and Timor Shah (both linked to the Taliban) for security (Aikins, 2012: 7). In the study How to Lose Allies and Finance Your Enemy Zyck (2012) discovered that 10-20 percent of all development and construction funding in Afghanistan is paid for insurgence in insecure provinces as protection racket (Zyck, 2012: 262).

It is important to note that the exact numbers on contractors and payments can only be estimated as neither the Department of Defence nor contracted Afghan security companies themselves publish data on operations or expenditures. Research on primary sources, such as the records of DoD rewarded contractors, operations undertaken by PSCs on Afghan highways and so forth led mostly to password protected government sides. Additionally it is important to note that already published data can be flawed or lacking (Tierney, 2010: 37). In the case of investigations on Host Nation Trucking, undertaken by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), government numbers on Afghan security companies exclude sub-contractors (Aikins, 2012: 7). It is a significant missing piece of evidence in the research of the role of private security companies and the American government. Furthermore the Department of Defence only started collecting data on contractors and expenditures of private security/military services at the end of 2007; record from the beginning of the American War on Terror simply do not exist (Schwarz, 2011: 5). These circumstances provide three significant conclusions for the research on private security companies and the DoD. First, contemporary research on PSCs in Afghanistan (or other locations of operations) cannot disclose the full scale of state expenditures on private security companies or the scale of their operations. Secondly, missing data is a lack of evidence and simultaneously evidence itself. Missing evidence can question every argument made, including the provided numbers. Simultaneously missing evidence can mean that the dimensions of the relationship between the international security industry and American warfare are much deeper than expected. Thirdly, these circumstances could plausibly mean that data provided in this research might be proven as false or lacking in the future to come. The case study may only be the tip of the iceberg to how American taxpayer-money was funding the enemy during its very war on it.

 

Conclusion

 

Thus it has been shown that the phenomenon private security company is lacking a coherent definition unable to accommodate its hybrid identity. Singer’s distinction of PMSCs in relation to the ‘tip of the spear’ is therefore an essential mechanism to classify the contemporary private security industry. Importantly, the private security industry in Afghanistan differs stark from the one in Iraq, consisting of over 90 percent of local contractors. Under the Disarmament of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) in 2006 local milita were licensed to private security contractors. This means that PSCs in Afghanistan are majorly owned by political figures linked to the President Karzai, warlords or tribal leaders like Ahmad Wali Karzai or Commander Ruhullah. As the case study of Watan Risk Management showed these warlords or tribal leaders operate in security rackets that extort trucking companies on Afghan highways, specifically American supply convoys.

The by far biggest employer of private security companies is the Department of Defence that with the Host Nation Trucking contract in 2006 outsourced the supply for American and allied troops to nearly 70 percent to Afghan security companies. Host Nation Trucking is an example of inefficient and wrongful contracting of PMSCs, that proved modern American warfare is unthinkable without them. Consequently, by funding the very enemy enemy America sought to defeat in its War against Terror – Host Nation Trucking undermined US counter-insurgency strategies. The extortion of billions of taxpayer money is an essential comment to a war that was lost before it started. It is questionable if the goal justifies the means. Therefore, highway one is a direct example of Afghanistan’s inability to execute a state monopoly with or without foreign aid.

Furthermore, throught the lack of published data research on the private security industry in Afghanistan and/or other locations can only become efficient once hard numbers will be provided by either official side or contractors themselves. Until then there is little remedy to a problem that seems to become a norm in contemporary American warfare. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown private security companies are not only a new means how to outsource a war; but can be an official thick-leave to criminal networks. The case study of Watan Risk Management shows that at the end there are more questions than answers and the world of private security has been merely understood yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Aikins, M. 2012. Contracting the Commanders: Transitions and the Political Economy of Afghanistan’s Private Security Industry. Available:  http://cic.es.its.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/afghan_private_security.pdf [10th May2014].

Avant, D. 2005. The Market of Force: The Consequences of Private Security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Avant,D. & De Nevers, R. 2011. Military Contractors & The American Way of War. Daedalus. Vol. 140, No. 3: 88-99.

Bhatia, M. & Sedra, M. 2008. Afghanistan, Arms and Conflict. New York: Routledge.

Carmola, K. 2010.  Private Security Contractors and New Wars. New York: Routledge.

Checcina, M. 2011. Private Security Companies Give Way to the Afghan Public Protection Force. Available:  https://www.cimicweb.org/Documents/CFC%20AFG%20Security%20Archive/CFC_Afg_PSCs-and-APPF_Oct11.pdf [10th May 2014].

De Young, K. 2011. U.S. Trucking Funds Reach Taliban, Military-led investigation concludes. Washington Post. 22nd July. Available:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-trucking-funds-reach-taliban-military-led-investigation-concludes/2011/07/22/gIQAmMDUXI_story.html [12th May 2014].

Elliot, J. 2011. Private Security Companies Protecting Trucks on Afghan Highway. Available: http://media.salon.com/2011/02/obama_presides_over_a_private_contractor_boom.jpg [11th May 2014].

Forsberg, C. 2010. Private Security Contracting and the Counterinsurgency Mission in Afghanistan. Available: http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/20100622Forsberg.pdf  [10th May 2014].

 

Forseberg, C. & Kagan, K. 2010. Consolidating Private Security Companies in Southern Afghanistan. Available: http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/BackgrounderPSC_0.pdf  [10th May 2014].

Filkins, D. 2010. U.S. Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys. New York Times. 22nd June. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/world/asia/22contractors.html?_r=0 [5th May 2014].

Gall, C. 2008. An Afghan Lifeline, Plagued by Insurgents. New York Times. 14th August. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/world/asia/14iht-highway.1.15278043.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [08th May 2014].

GAO, 2010. DOD, State and USAID Face Continued Challenges in Tracking Contracts, Assistance, Instruments, and Associated Personnel.  Available: http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/310757.pdf [3rd May 2014].

Ginty, R. M. 2010. Warlords and the Liberal Peace: State-Building in Afghanistan. Conflict, Security & Development. Vol. 10, No. 4: 577-598.

Guistozzi, A. 2008. Bureaucratic Façade and Political Realities of Disarmament and Demobilisation in Afghanistan. Conflict, Security & Development. No. 8, Vol. 2: 169- 192.

Hammons, D. M. 2010. “At What Costs?” Indeed: Contractor Indispensability in Army Logistics. Available: http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/web/ontractor%20indispensability%20in%20Army%20logistics.pdf [10th May 2014].

Isenberg, D. 2008. Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq. Westport: British Library Cataloguing.

Jones, S. G. 2008. Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.

Kinsey, C. 2006 Corporate Soldiers and International Security: The Rise of Private Military Companies. New York: Routledge.

Nojumi, N. 2002. The Rise and Fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Roston, A. 2009. How the US Funds the Taliban. The Nation. 11th November. Available: http://www.thenation.com/article/how-us-funds-taliban [08th May 2014].

Rubin, D. 2013. Observer Research Foundation. Risk or Reward? The Impact of Private Security Contractors and Militia in Afghanistan. Available: http://www.observerindia.com/cms/export/orfonline/modules/occasionalpaper/attachments/occasionalpaper43_1376728531824.pdf [6th May 2014].

Schwartz, M. 2011. Wartime Contracting in Afghanistan: Analysis and Issues for Congress. Available: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42084.pdf [2nd May 2014].

Singer, P. W. 2001. Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry and Its Ramifications for International Security. International Security. Vol. 26, No. 188: 186-220.

Singer, P. S. 2001. Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Private Military Industry. London: Cornell University Press.

Tierney, J. F. 2010. Warlord, Inc. Available: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/HNT_Report.pdf [5th May 2014].

Watanrisk, 2014. Watanrisk. http://www.watanrisk.com/ [12th May 2014].

Zyck, S. A. 2012. How to Lose Allies and Finance Your Enemies: The Economisation of Conflict Termination in Afghanistan. Conflict, Security & Development. Vol. 12, No. 3: 249-271.

 

 

This entry was posted in Academic, Afghanistan and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply