Damn shame. LOCAL Regional/Popular Force paramilitaries have been a feature of previous counterinsurgencies. They require special handling that nobody nowadays seems to want to do.
Born out of frustration in the aftermath of Operation Medusa, the 2006 Canadian-led offensive, the auxiliary police were meant to provide security in remote villages and districts, much like a neighbourhood watch.
They were supposed to serve as a backup to full-time Afghan National Police officers in major centres such as Kandahar.
NATO didn’t have enough troops to hold the ground it had captured from Taliban militants. British Gen. Sir David Richard, the alliance commander in Afghanistan at the time, ordered the auxiliary units created to prevent territory from falling back into insurgent hands.
Some of the 11,000 auxiliary police – who receive $70 US per month in the six southern provinces of Uruzgan, Kandahar, Helmand, Farah, Zabul and Ghazni – will be absorbed into the slightly better trained and equipped national police force. The rest will be told to go home.
The auxiliary police, modeled on the traditional community defence initiative called arbakai, was initially heralded by Canadian commanders as way to instill confidence in isolated communities where villagers are suspicious of foreigners and the federal police.
Not many will go home. They’ll go work for the heroin cartels, or the Afghan-owned, tribally operated private security companies squeezing the NGO’s, and NATO will have less influence over them than they had when these guys were AUXPOL.
I had a buddy who got paid pretty good to drink a lot of tea and palaver with headmen over who was going to provide gun men for which particular section of Ring Road construction security. The Pashtun tribes have their own lashkars and tribal levies and traditional security and law enforcement arrangements, which Kabul and Washington would rather ignore than work with.
Oh, well. CIDG and RUFFPUFFs weren’t real popular with Saigon, either. Insecure central governments with tenous claims of legitimacy worry more about potentially mutinous auxiliaries than they do about the insurgent, thus losing legitimacy with those they once trusted, who once wished them well.