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Afghan National Police – capability gap

March 30, 2010

ANP vehicle - out and about in Maimaneh, Faryab provinceInteresting article from The Independent, apparently quoting Foreign Office reports on the status of the Afghan National Police (ANP) force as renewed and highly costly efforts are made to build them into a coherent, competent, trustworthy and truly national force.  “Ghost recruiting” ie local chiefs taking the salaries for police that do not exist, corruption and drug taking are still standard in todays modern Afghan bobby on the beat.

There is at least some encouragement in that these critiques of the ANP are realistic to the point of brutal – at least some parts of the international community are aware of the scale of the problem.  But lets not fool ourselves – the international community is desperate that the ANP, together with the Afghan National Army (at least slightly better than the ANP) should form the basis of their exit strategy.  The temptation to declare them “ready” several years before they really are is mounting.

One quote is particularly telling: “

“International pressure to increase police recruitment has led to a focus on quantity rather than quality. Because police challenges are huge, there is a tendency to look for quick solutions. The risk is short-termism and a failure to develop a coherent and consistent approach to police reform.”

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