High Stakes

U.S. Firms to End Afghan Projects

Maybe we need Blackwater after all: The Washington Post reports that American development firms are beginning to shut down their development projects in Afghanistan because the government there refuses to lift a ban on private security guards. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, as are several projects devoted to winning the hearts and minds of Afghan citizens. "If these projects grind to a halt, we might as well go home,” says one U.S. official. “They are essential to the counterinsurgency strategy." More than 20,000 Afghans will lose infrastructure and energy jobs if the projects shut down.