Monday, October 18, 2010

Story of the Week to Follow: A-Stan Police Reform

At Slate, Christopher Beam is doing several stories on efforts to build an Afghan National Police.  This is one of  the big keys to success or failure in Afghanistan.  The police have been a huge problem in Afghanistan (even worse than you can imagine) with not just corruption in the form of bribes but abuse of power.  This article depicts the challenges pretty well
 The ANPs could use the help. They have a reputation as the delinquents of the Afghan National Security Forces. Schooling levels are low. Corruption abounds. Drugs and misbehavior are commonplace. It's no secret why: When the Taliban fell to coalition forces in late 2001, the new government's priority was national security, which meant beefing up the Afghan National Army. The ANA thus got its pick of Afghanistan's best warriors. Unlike the Army, which has a long pre-Taliban history, the ANP was starting from scratch. And in many ways, it still is.
 Germany agreed to lead the ANP effort at first, which, to me, is kind of a joke since the Germans could not operate in the South or East.  And in the North, they can only mentor the ANP on base, which is pretty ineffective.

The MPs, on the other hand, seem to be suited for the task:
Military police, by contrast, are built for diplomacy, he says. They work in police departments back home. They're used to community policing—going on patrols, maintaining a presence in the neighborhood, asking folks what the police could be doing better, and generally getting to know the people they're protecting. In theory, they're ideal counterinsurgents.
 Well, actually, the MPs are not ideal counterinsurgents--the local police, if they are good, are the ideal COIN-operators.  Which makes this effort so important.

Keep following this series this week.  I know I will.

*  I like the five S's for encountering potential threats, reminds me of the five d's of dodgeball.
** Interesting take of where the MPs are in the military hierarchy.  Reminds me of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child (damn addicting series of thrillers).

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