Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Afghan Army and police: A long way to go - International Herald Tribune

IHT has an excellent article on the challenges in building up the Afghan Armed Forces and Police. The author uses some poignant images to show the extremes of development that these forces face: at one extreme, an english-speaking officer cadet is interviewed at a military academy modelled after West Point; at the other extereme, a police station in Oruzgan province is visited by NATO forces, who find the local police are cultivating poppy in their compound.

The creation and bolstering of national armed forces- be it the Congolese Armed Forces by MONUC in the Congo, or the ANA in Afghanistan- is a task regularly falling to multi-national military missions and peacekeepers. In the context of Afghanistan, the stakes are high- recent scandals have greatly discredited the efforts made, particularly by private sector actors. Dyncop's training program of Afghan police was described as, ' appalling joke ... a complete shambles', by Ambassador Holbrooke.