Is U.S. Legitimizing Warlords and Criminals in Afghanistan?

Friday, February 25, 2011
The U.S. military’s plan to create Afghan Local Police (ALP) units throughout Afghanistan is supposed to turn the population against the Taliban. But some of the ALPs are filled with undesirables ranging from former warlord loyalists to criminals, causing local citizens to doubt the reliability of the units.
So far only 2,000 Afghans are enrolled in ALPs, but already the screening process for recruits has failed to keep out men that the police are supposed to be keeping under control.
A leading official in Herat province’s Shindand district told the Associated Press that the 200-strong police force includes militia fighters, former Taliban and thugs. Local residents have asked the government to keep the ALP out of their neighborhoods.
In northern Takhar province, the ALP in Darkhat district is mostly made up of men who used to fight for warlord Qazi Kabir Murzban, who was involved in drug smuggling before he was elected to parliament.
The ALP problem follows on the heels of a similar infiltration of the Afghan companies tasked with the guarding of U.S. bases and convoys.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Afghans See Warlord Footprints in New Police Force (by Heidi Vogt, Associated Press)
U.S. Afghan Bases Guarded by Taliban, Criminals and Spies (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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