So what does this really mean? Private security firms, both local and foreign, will make increasingly high profits:
A fully fledged Afghan national security force, including army and police, will cost about $5 billion a year after international combat forces pull out in 2014, the Afghanistan defence minister told reporters on Tuesday.
The price tag estimated by Abdul Rahim Wardak was more than three times the Afghan government’s domestic revenue in 2010, and about a third of the country’s gross domestic product.
“At the present level of security environment we are facing, it will be about $5 billion a year,” Wardak told journalists at the heavily guarded ministry, where a display of the Afghan army’s foreign supplied weaponry and equipment, from socks to helicopters, was shown to journalists.
Afghanistan’s government has pinned its hopes of rebuilding the country’s economy, and of earning the money it needs for the army and police, on attracting investment in copper and iron ore resources, which it reckons could be worth up to $3 trillion.
Wardak said the government’s goal was to build a force that did not rely on foreign help, but he made it clear that a transition period was needed. During this period, he said, Afghanistan would require foreign money, mainly from the United States, to maintain the force.