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EU has the right idea on Afghanistan

As U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled his plans for Afghanistan today, the European Union’s parallel announcement struck many as feeble: more cash and police trainers, troops not so much. But might the EU actually have the right idea? As Robert Templer of International Crisis Group writes on The Argument today, police are exactly what both ...

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LAHORE, PAKISTAN - MARCH 15: Police stand guard outside the residence of PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharif whilst under house arrest on March 15, 2009 in Lahore, Pakistan. Violence erupted today after PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharif, under house arrest, called for the people of Pakistan to stand for their rights and continue the long march to Islamabad. Protesters and lawyers clashed with police in the streets, as they congregated near to the High Court of Lahore. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

As U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled his plans for Afghanistan today, the European Union's parallel announcement struck many as feeble: more cash and police trainers, troops not so much.

But might the EU actually have the right idea? As Robert Templer of International Crisis Group writes on The Argument today, police are exactly what both Pakistan and Afghanistan need. The forces today are corrupt and poorly utilized. Street-patrollers could restore security and confidence to chaos-wracked cities and towns. That most basic level of calm is no military task. 

As U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled his plans for Afghanistan today, the European Union’s parallel announcement struck many as feeble: more cash and police trainers, troops not so much.

But might the EU actually have the right idea? As Robert Templer of International Crisis Group writes on The Argument today, police are exactly what both Pakistan and Afghanistan need. The forces today are corrupt and poorly utilized. Street-patrollers could restore security and confidence to chaos-wracked cities and towns. That most basic level of calm is no military task. 

Still, critics would have a point that the EU’s proposal is far too feeble given the task ahead. Even with the doubling of police trainers, that will put just 400 on the ground. How about a octopoling? Then, I’ll be impressed. Read Templer’s full piece to understand why. 

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Elizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based member of the journalism collective Deca.

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