Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

What must be done in Afghanistan (III): Revamp policing

The third installment from an Army officer who has spent lots of time fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His name isn’t Sam Damon, but it is kind of similar-that is, you would recognize it: “We must nationalize the police. CSTC-A and government of AFG has failed the Afghan National Police. Corruption exists here because the ...

579216_091015_Ricks1015092.jpg
579216_091015_Ricks1015092.jpg
Soldiers from HHC 173rd STB Military Police give a block of instruction on rocket propelled grenade launchers during a range in Beshud, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan on February 13, 2008. The range is for the US forces to evaluate the ANP on there marksmanship skills. (US Photograph by Specialist Justin French) (Released)

The third installment from an Army officer who has spent lots of time fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His name isn't Sam Damon, but it is kind of similar-that is, you would recognize it:

"We must nationalize the police. CSTC-A and government of AFG has failed the Afghan National Police. Corruption exists here because the police are local and cannot effectively enforce the law among their family, clans, and tribe. Data shows the more the population supports the police they will disavow the Taliban. Send the police out of country to Jordan or a NATO country for training. Let them see another country and respect for law.

I like a lot of this officer's thinking, but I'm ambivalent about this point. I think locals tend to police the best. But how can they do that if they are caught in a web of corruption, or subject to Taliban threats against their families? It seems to me the answer is likely to go with local cops but do it as you get less abusive people in the provincial power slots. But I am not sure, and am willing to listen to good arguments for a non-local, national police force.

The third installment from an Army officer who has spent lots of time fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His name isn’t Sam Damon, but it is kind of similar-that is, you would recognize it:

“We must nationalize the police. CSTC-A and government of AFG has failed the Afghan National Police. Corruption exists here because the police are local and cannot effectively enforce the law among their family, clans, and tribe. Data shows the more the population supports the police they will disavow the Taliban. Send the police out of country to Jordan or a NATO country for training. Let them see another country and respect for law.

I like a lot of this officer’s thinking, but I’m ambivalent about this point. I think locals tend to police the best. But how can they do that if they are caught in a web of corruption, or subject to Taliban threats against their families? It seems to me the answer is likely to go with local cops but do it as you get less abusive people in the provincial power slots. But I am not sure, and am willing to listen to good arguments for a non-local, national police force.

Photo via Flickr user The U.S. Army 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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