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As the US urgently seeks an exit from its ongoing 17-year war in Afghanistan - the longest war the nation has prosecuted in its 242-year history - for-profit, privately-held mercenary corporations are increasingly taking over, leading officials in Kabul to question their expensive and often deadly presence. In 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan, quickly contributing to a boom in the so-called 'private security' business, a euphemism to describe the use of mercenary soldiers, according to reports. Although the US is making moves toward giving up its 17-year Afghanistan war - a fight described last month by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Joseph Dunford, as a "stalemate" - widespread instability in Afghanistan remains, and there is a high demand for armed soldiers to guard foreign business operations, national embassies and even military bases, according to the BBC. The nation's interior ministry created a Kabul-supervised Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) in 2010,...