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Privatization of War in Afghanistan

Seventeen years into its life as a modern democracy, Afghanistan continues to struggle against terrorism and insurgency. In the first half of 2018, UNAMA reported 5 ,122 civilian casualties, and considerably higher death rates as compared to previous years. In this context, the proposition of handing over the country’s defense to private firms is fraught with serious potential risk.

Past experience in Afghanistan shows that the strategy of privatizing the security of the country, or handing it over to a specific group, has not only failed dramatically, but has also endangered the country’s sovereignty and security. Experience and perceptions of local mechanisms of privatized structures, have been extremely negative, and we have good reason to believe that reactions to any foreign security company would be much worse, and possibly violent.

The new generation of Afghans wants peace. They are tired of war and of losing their loved ones. The Helmand Peace March, and the hundreds of voices raised from communities demanding peace, are testimony that common citizens of Afghanistan thirst for peace. The unprecedented participation in the recent Parliamentary elections is another clear message that Afghans choose peace and democracy, and realize that they can change and build their future in a peaceful way.

We Afghans believe the catastrophe of war can only be resolved by Afghans through national consensus, and after an in-depth analysis of inside and outside factors involved in the Afghan conflict. We believe the prolonged conflict is due to irresponsible decisions of past political actors, on behalf of the Afghan people, and remember how the very social fabric was eroded during the 80s and 90s. The Russians’ policy of war privatization led to the creation of local and ethnic militias, a policy for which we are still paying the price.

Understanding the sensitivities and complexity of the geopolitics of Afghanistan first-hand, we, the members of the Afghan Civil Society, stand firmly against the privatization of Afghanistan’s security. We believe any decision on security privatization will worsen the current security situation in the country. Through this press release, the CSOs would like to highlight the following:

  • Learning from the painful experience of the 80s and 90s, Afghans will never accept privatization of war. We fully support the decision of the National Security Council of Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s parliament, and the statement of President Ghani, and reject the idea of privatization of Afghanistan’s war.

  • We ask the international community and partner countries supporting peace initiatives in Afghanistan, to have faith in the capability of the Afghan National Army and security forces. We appeal to them to continue to support and strengthen ANA, NDS and other security structures, through specialized training and adequate equipping of the national security establishments.

  • We call on NATO and the US troops engaged in Afghanistan war to respect the national consensus and values of Afghanistan. The idea of privatization of war is rejected by Afghanistan government and civilians.

  • Our partnership with the international community should result in sustainable Afghan security that can be the basis for national unity, Afghanistan’s sovereignty, and the development of a professional and trustworthy military force, able to fight against the insurgents, terrorists and other forms of illegal armed opposition.

  • We believe that the people of Afghanistan support the Afghan National Army and Defense forces, whose sacrifices have already proved their patriotism and dedication, and are opposed to private and informal groups who can only take the country into a crisis situation again.

  • The Civil Society is calling on the Afghan politicians to reject meeting and getting into discussions with any person or entity behind the door whose goals are against the national value and benefits; otherwise, they will be accountable to the people of Afghanistan. The only discussion we accept is the open and on public platforms.

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