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Over-Reliance on Private Security by Military Forces Harming Stabilization Efforts in Afghanistan, Report by NYU’s Center on International Cooperation Finds

September 17, 2009
N-31, 2009-10

Michele Shapiro | 212.998.3688 or 917-658-6760 |

The Public Cost of Private Security in Afghanistan, authored by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, analyzes the negative impact of weak private security oversight in Afghanistan. The report concludes that over-reliance on private security - above all, on local militia groups - by international military forces is harming stabilization efforts. Among the report’s findings are the following:

  • Contracted security increased the cost of highway reconstruction projects by up to 15 percent;
  • The number of US Dept. of Defense security contractors increased 19 percent (to 5,198 personnel) from March to August 2009;
  • More than 1,000 local militia groups have been employed, trained, and armed by international military forces since 2001; and
  • Ten to 20 percent of reconstruction funding is spent on private security.

The report provides essential background on the use of private security by the US government and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and on the regulatory framework governing private security, as public evidence of gross negligence at the US Embassy by ArmorGroup North America has come to light. The surge in US forces will also increase demand for private security. The Public Cost of Private Security lays out the risks, including shorting Afghan public security forces, increasing the costs of reconstruction, and strengthening criminal groups.

According to the Center on International Cooperation’s Jake Sherman, the report’s primary author, “Financing armed, alternative power structures fulfills the security needs of international personnel in the short-term at the cost of consolidating government authority and protecting Afghan citizens in the long-term.”

Free copies of the report are available for download on CIC’s website. Please direct all media inquiries to: Michele Shapiro (212.998.3688 or 917.658.6760; e-mail:

Notes to editors:

  • The Center on International Cooperation’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Program ( has become one of the principle sources of analysis, public information, and advocacy on selected issues related to rebuilding Afghanistan’s institutions, society, and economy.
  • Jake Sherman, the primary author of The Public Cost of Private Security in Afghanistan, is available to comment on the report. He has previously been quoted and interviewed on Afghanistan by the BBC World Service, the Boston Globe, Corriere della Sera, and other news organizations.
  • The Public Cost of Private Security in Afghanistan was made possible with generous financial support from the government of Norway. All opinions expressed in the report are those of CIC alone.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Graduate School of Arts and Science, Research

Type: Press Release


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