Advisers Help Afghan Police to Become Self Sufficient
By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2010 Advisers in Afghanistan are creating development plans to increase Afghan capability in running the government’s Ministry of Interior on a self-sufficient basis.
“We have a two-year plan where we think in 2012 the ministry will be self-sufficient, and they'll be able to operate the organization on their own with very little assistance from us,” senior U.S. adviser David Clifton said on a recent “DoDLive” bloggers roundtable. Clifton and his team are a component of U.S. Training Mission Afghanistan.
Clifton said he and his advisers coach Afghan leaders on ministerial and leadership development and building a stand-alone Afghan National Police force. The Afghan government’s Ministry of Interior in the capital city of Kabul, he noted, is responsible for the country’s police forces, other internal security forces, and counter-narcotics forces.
The goal, Clifton said, is to determine the basic functions of the interior ministry and to mentor the Afghans so that they can take charge.
“We're sort of the pilot instructor with our hands on the controls, but they're in the cockpit watching us,” he said.
One of the areas of focus, Clifton said, is helping the Afghan police to develop a counter-insurgency security force.
“The mission that we are trying to assist them in right now trains the police for the COIN environment, and creating security for the population,” he said.
There also is improvement in the training capacity of the Afghan police, Clifton said. In the initial stages of building the police force, he said, the training was not uniformly applied. Now, he said, the process is to “recruit, train and assign,” so that the police are being trained before they are deployed.
“The training is getting better,” Clifton said. “I think police are going out there more capable every day.”
Clifton said one of the areas where the Afghan police are doing well is counternarcotics.
“They have a prosecutor, and they have a good system of identifying the criminals, and apprehending the criminals, and prosecuting the criminals, and convicting the criminals,” he said.
Clifton said there also are efforts to educate farmers on how to grow other crops instead of poppy to cut down on narcotics trafficking and active plans to help treat people who have become drug dependent.
Another initiative, he said, involves putting policies into place to get rid of corruption in the police force. One new policy, he added, has established pay parity between the police and the army so the police can have a living wage and be less tempted by corruption.
The police have also developed six mobile anti-corruption teams that go around and investigate reports of in-ranks corruption, Clifton said. To do this, he said, the police employ what they call a “119” line, which is designed for people to call and report instances of corruption.
“There's a great investment in improving the overall quality of life of the police officers, which I believe is another aspect of corruption,” Clifton said. “If you pay the police and you provide them with reasonable quality of life -- they're being equipped better -- then I think that reduces the proclivity for corruption.”
The Afghan police have much to learn, Clifton acknowledged, but he added that he’s optimistic because of the resiliency and perseverance of the Afghan people.
“Working with the Afghans is a cause worth pursuing and enduring,” Clifton said. “I'm optimistic about the capabilities of the Afghan people, to not only build a viable force, but also to operate, train that force, and sustain it on their own.”