Afghan Police Force Needs More Help
By Reeba Critser
Soldiers from the Afghan National Army.
Belgium — Absenteeism, corruption, low pay, lack of equipment
and weapons, and a high casualty rate are just some reasons
show up at the Jalalabad Regional Training Center in Afghanistan. The goal
for them is to avoid these situations.
In most of the country’s districts, policemen are
on the force because they were friends with the right people;
however, most have undergone no police
training and many are illiterate. Many policemen on the payroll receive a considerable
paycheck, but never show up to work. Corruption still is high in Afghanistan,
but the Afghan government and NATO forces are working to change that.
result is to ensure all policemen receive the same training,
equipment, weapons and equal pay. The RTC is where they receive
weeks of training approved by Afghanistan’s Interior
Ministry, the police officers are sent home to protect their
villages. The courses are taught by Afghans, but U.S. contractor
DynCorp employs former policemen as supervisors.
get them in, get them trained, and get them out the gate,” said
Flint L. Chambers, deputy regional commander for the Jalalabad
RTC. “They leave here with brand-new equipment and weapons
and go back to their districts. They also receive an eight-week
oversight from us [in their home districts].”
more than 54,000 policemen have received the training, Chambers
estimates that less than 4 percent of the recruits he receives
are literate. But the recruits still give the program high
training, I didn’t know anything; now I know many things,” said
Murhaytab, a new police recruit of the Kod district, speaking
through an interpreter. “I will return to my district
and use what I have learned against my enemies.”
of sending policemen to the RTCs begins with Combined Security
Transition Command Afghanistan.
target a district, form a [meeting] with them, and determine
the best way to proceed with training,” said Army Maj.
Gen. Robert W. Cone, the American commander of CSTC-A. “We
place interim policemen in those districts while they’re
police belong to a program called focused district development.
The interim policemen come from around the country, and because
no one in that district is familiar with the policeman’s
background, corruption is reduced.
cannot fight corruption only by words. We need action as well,” said
Zemarai Bashari, an Afghanistan Interior Ministry spokesman.
The ministry has established an electronic payroll system to
monitor the policemen’s paychecks. A national payroll
system by rank also was established in the process. The additional
challenge is to ensure all policemen in the country are onboard
with the training and the payroll, Bashari said.
the Afghan National Police budget is more than $2 million,
the nation still is short of recruits, trainers and training
centers. “If I cannot get more police trainers, it will
take five years to complete this program,” Cone said.
Interior Ministry said more than 1,000 policemen were killed
last year fighting insurgents, the Taliban and narcotics. Even
common lawbreakers often are members of the Taliban who profit
from the narcotics industry and undermine progress.
police deserve courage and admiration because of their responsibilities,” Bashari
said to a group of European reporters. “Your police only
tackle crime. Ours fight Taliban who have heavy weapons and
said that for every 600 Afghans, there is only one policeman
policemen is a challenge when kidnappings, beheadings and assaults
are a big part of crime. In one instance, a policeman was mutilated
by the Taliban in front of his tribe to intimidate potential
recruits, Cone said.
[policemen] are 18 to 20 years old,” he said. “They
want to better their country, and they do that by backing NATO
forces. We owe these policemen better.”