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Afghan police failings fuelling Taliban recruitment, say UK army chiefs

June 4, 2010

Two British papers (Telegraph and Guardian) have picked up the same story – that the Afghan National Police force, currently being rushed into service across the country, is still no good.  But worse than that (although nothing we haven’t known for, say, the last half a decade), it’s inability, weakness and corruption is actually often driving local residents to support the Taliban.

Faryab ANP

It seems that we are doomed to continually rediscovering, every 6 months or so, that the ANP is still not capable of doing much.   In defence of the police, they are often the most exposed to danger of Taliban attack and suffer high casualties for little reward.  Retention of recruits and building on experience is poor as a result.  The rush to mass-produce local boots on the ground is perhaps the major cause of the problem and the international community seems always to be trying to achieve a long-term solution over a short term period.  The main responsibility for Afghan police training is, I think, still with the US-led FDD programme – Focused District Development – in which the whole police force of a district are extract for a period of 8 weeks (??) and retrained and re-equipped and sent back in.  The programme has been running for at least a couple of years and I imagine, like many international projects in Afghanistan, the political, organisational and financial momentum behind it, combined with a continual turnover of personnel makes recognition of the problem and an admission of “hey, this really isn’t working” quite difficult achieve.  I think I shall go back and investigate where this programme is.

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