The race to put Afghan feet into boots on the ground before NATO embarrasses itself irreparably has picked up the pace.
AP journo JASON STRAZIUSO writes inUS in New Push to Bolster Afghan Police
The lack of an effective training program for the police — a role first held by Germany — is often cited as one of the West’s biggest failings since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime for harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida bases. Now the U.S. is rolling out a new training program that will see small teams of American soldiers mentor and train police officers over the course of several months. The U.S. general in charge sees the program, which broadly mirrors the model used to train police in Iraq, as a big step forward to move past the police force’s lackluster reputation. “Regardless of what you think the role of police should be, the reality is that they’ve become the first line of defense for the Afghan people in many parts of this country and they deserve to have the kind of training that will give them a good chance of survival,” Maj. Gen. Robert W. Cone said. The police force has about 75,000 officers now, with a goal of growing to 82,000. The new training program, called Focus District Development — now in its first cycle, provides officers with new equipment — vehicles, weapons, uniforms, radios, protective gear — and enrolls them in an electronic pay system to prevent superiors from skimming paychecks, a common problem. Some 1,500 mentors — 800 American soldiers and 700 DynCorps contractors — will train police for eight weeks at regional sites. Then small teams will work with police in the field for two to four months. The training is currently taking place in seven of Afghanistan’s 365 districts and will take four years to complete, Cone said.*
Unsere Kameraden dicked the dachsund on training the ANP, our chaps in Helmand bestialized the bulldog attempting to slip their Kit Carson Scouts past Karzai, now Uncle Sam is going to spend $800 million this year on top of the $2.5 billion spent last year to give Afghanistan a professional, well trained, well disciplined and well paid police force loyal to Kabul. Nobody has ever attempted to give Kabul such a force.
Four years! Do we have four years?
The push for more NATO combat boots on the ground in Central Asia indicates to me somebody is not paying attention to their logisticians and what has been going on around the Kohat Tunnel. Western Motorized infantry needs a lot more beans, bullets and fuel than indigenous pickup-borne Counter Terrorism Police.
In the end, it’s their country, their war, and their police force. We need to wire them for success and leave the rest to them.
*I added the bolding.
UPDATE: Just found this. Food for thought. Arbakai Aim to Protect Their Villages in Afghanistan. Source is NPR, but it seemed worthwhile. Arbakai won’t work everywhere. Should they be tried where they will? Is the Karzai government secure enough in its legitimacy to experiment?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reforming the Afghan police, one district at a time from October.