September 04, 2009

Today's essential Afghan reading

Good article in the Atlantic on the ANP:

Bringing the Afghan National Police up to a level where they can defend not only themselves but the areas under their jurisdiction is as yet little more than a distant hope. Someone like Abdullah will only fight loyally with the police so long as he can support his family—and be able to buy batteries for his radio. America and its allies have grandiose expectations, but by placing so much of the burden on an under-trained, inadequately equipped police force, they seem to be setting themselves up for failure.

The only ANP organizations I knew of in Afghanistan that were remotely effective were the ANP with embedded Canadian mentors (the so-called P-OMLT, made up of a mix of line infantry and military police) living with them around the clock. Canada was the only country that did this during my tour: the U.S. PMTs, undoubtedly gung ho and absolutely invaluable to ISAF operations in their own way, would still stay at fortified FOBs and drive out to visit, rather than living-in 24/7. It sounds from the article like the Brit police mentors still do the same in Helmand. As the article intimates, the nearly-inevitable result is corruption, casualties, and demoralization among the police.

Posted by BruceR at 12:21 PM