Paramilitary: The Afghan Auxiliary Police

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April 20, 2006: Concerned over unrest in certain provinces of Afghanistan, President Karzai is proposing the creation of "auxiliary police units" in areas particularly susceptible to Taliban penetration. The new force would number some 9,000-10,000 men. These would be recruited locally and stationed in their home provinces, to supplement personnel from the 65,000-strong Afghan National Police.

In essence, the proposal is a way to co-opt local tribal and warlord militiamen, who might otherwise end up supporting the Taliban. This sort of thing is nothing new in Afghan history, given that the central government has almost always been relatively powerless in the remoter areas of the country.

Meanwhile, the Taliban reportedly has decided that so many of its former supporters have accepted the government amnesty, that trying to kill them as an "example" of what happens to turncoats, isn't going to work. As a result, Taliban leaders have decided to work on "winning back" the deserters.

The government is also trying to maintain the morale of the National Police. The cops complain of being ill equipped compared to the Coalition troops they often work with. Basically, the cops have pickup trucks, AK-47s and primitive radios. The problem is mainly one of money. To buy the police body armor, night vision devices, computers, armored trucks, satellite phones, UAVs and other goodies Western troops employ, could cost a billion dollars or so. Afghanistan hasn't got the money for it, and foreign donors are reluctant to pony up, for fear of seeing much of this expensive gear stolen by the cops and sold on the black market. That has already happened with some of the equipment they already have.

 


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