RECENTLY US President Trump’s advisers recruited two men – Erik D Prince, a founding member of the Blackwater, and Stephen A. Feinberg, owner of the DynCorp International. Private security companies of these men would reportedly replace the US troops in Afghanistan. This obviously means by doing this, America is reformulating its Afghan war strategy, rather it is privatizing its objectives in Afghanistan. In the medieval times, most knights were bandits, mercenaries, lawless brigands, skinners, highwaymen, and thieves. The supposed chivalry of Charlemagne and Roland had as much to do with the majority of medieval knights as the historical Jesus with the temporal riches and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, or any church for that matter. Mercenaries go wherever there is a mixture of money and trouble, and everyone in the galaxy is a potential customer. (Howard Tayler) Russia used Chechen mercenaries in Ukraine. Now Russia is using private security contractors to seize oil and mining facilities from the Islamic State in Syria. For 300 years, Indian rulers used European mercenaries, followed by a series of defections of British soldiers and laymen from the British East India Company bridgehead at Surat in the 17th Century. While travelling to India in 1498 Vasco da Gama observed that various Rajas on the Malabar Coast had employed Italian mercenaries. After the war of independence in 1857, British parliament disbanded East India Company for the welfare of Indians and to secure British interests in the subcontinent. Later on England decided that the East India Company model was not suitable to maintain their colonialism. Replacing the US troops with private security contractors will change the nature of war in Afghanistan, leading it towards further instability. America will formulise mercenaries to fight in Afghanistan with the purpose to deny them whenever it wants. Since such private security contractors don’t follow rule of a state, their way of war is different from a regular army’s battle. Moreover, mercenaries are cost effective, their host state doesn’t pay them; they generate their own resources on their own in the country they operate. Operational strategies of mercenaries will be different from that of regular army. These mercenaries won’t be subject to US, US army and Afghan laws. Mercenaries will operate separately or either being part of society. Since Afghanistan is a hub of non-state actors such as Taliban, Islamic State militants and Warlords, therefore, in Afghanistan, operationalisation of mercenaries would be a tough task job. Although CIA or Pentagon would command the mercenaries on Trump’s directions, objectives and operations of these mercenaries will not be in compliance with America’s interests and directions. As mercenaries will have to generate their own resources, there are more chances that US would legalize narcotics and opium cultivation in Afghanistan to fund these civilian contractors, leading Afghanistan towards economic and social instability. Moreover, mercenaries in Afghanistan would create a chance for civilian contractors to control trade and export of precious gems, timber and other resources in Afghanistan. Eventually pushing Afghanistan towards further unrest and instability, this would favour US’ war economy. Under these private security contractors, America is also planning to hire local Afghans, on cheap payments, and for their awareness of the area while providing them only the contextual knowledge of their mission, this would lead to increase warlords in Afghanistan, which is one of causes of unrest in Afghanistan. Termination of war would be a great question in this scenario. It would be difficult to differentiate between regular military personnel and mercenaries, because elements of deniability would create a security dilemma. Mercenaries are not legitimate and they are not under political and public pressure, there would be less demand of war termination by civilian US society. It will encourage more proxies to fight in Afghanistan and other war hit areas, and the conflict will expand. This instability in Afghanistan will have spillover effects on Pakistan; it can increase militants’ activities at Pak-Afghan bordering area where Pakistan army is already conducting operations. Since these private security contractors work for money, India can pay them to work against Pakistan too. Pakistan has already seen the episode of Raymond Davis a private security contractor working for CIA. In wake of resource-driven war in Afghanistan, private mercenaries will focus on securing Afghanistan’s resources, including its vast mineral deposits of gold, copper, lithium, uranium, iron ore, cobalt, natural gas and oil. Since there is no political stability in Afghanistan, large-scale of minerals extraction there, would add fuel to fire of chaos. Instead of empowering incumbent Afghan government this scenario would further weaken it. If minerals are extracted it would be difficult to carry these from one place to other, there would be logistics issues. Afghanistan would need new net of roads and railways. As Afghanistan is landlocked country, America has to find out ways to transport Afghan minerals choosing routes out of Pakistan, China, Central Asia or Russia. The Afghan army and police are doing their best to enhance security situation in the country. Afghan security forces and agencies are being assisted by NATO and US troop, which regular armies do on a certain set rules of engagements. Since private security contractors don’t abide by rule of state and don’t have their set rules and regulations, Afghan forces won’t be able to get proper assistance from them, this would also lesson their morale. This situation would help militants in Afghanistan. Private military and security companies work independently which harm counter-insurgency goals. Eric Prince wants to work with Afghan government, which might not warmly respond to this plan. Such operations work when government and a force work for the same goal, as objectives of Afghan government and these private security contractors’ will not math, results would be failure as was in Iraq. Private security contractors in Iraq lost their immunity when on 16 September 2007; Blackwater personnel killed 17 Iraqi civilians during a shooting at Baghdad square. On 2003, security contractors were hired to train Iraqi forces but they could not do so, therefore US military intervened. The writer is freelance columnist based in Kallar Syedan Published in Daily Times, August 10th 2017.