Bloomberg, June 10, 2008
Afghanistan's Future Threatened by Poor Police, Balkenende Says
Afghan police have been "corrupt, incompetent, under-resourced and often loyal to local commanders rather than to the central government," according to the National Defense Research Institute
By Ed Johnson
Afghanistan's ineffective police are jeopardizing the country's future and its government must do more to improve the force and the justice system, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told President Hamid Karzai.
"Without highly motivated police officers, there can be no bright future for Afghanistan,'' Balkenende said at a joint news conference yesterday after talks in The Hague.
The Netherlands has about 1,650 soldiers under NATO command in the South Asian country and leads the fight against a Taliban insurgency in southern Uruzgan province. Authorities must improve governance in the region because, without "good public servants and courts, reconstruction efforts cannot get fully under way,'' Balkenende said.
NATO forces in the south of the country say some Afghan police are guilty of corruption and will steal aid if it is handed out. ... A Pentagon official said thousands of cars and trucks intended for use by the Afghan police had been sold instead.
Sunday Telegraph, January 29, 2007
Karzai is in Europe to ask the international community to step up support for his administration, as 80 governments and aid groups gather at a donors' conference in Paris June 12. The United Nations has led calls for Karzai to tackle corruption and improve the rule of law.
While training of the Afghan army is progressing well, developing the nation's police force is proving more challenging, Balkenende said, according to a transcript.
"NATO, the EU and the Netherlands will be increasing their efforts to train police officers,'' he said. "But Afghanistan needs to do more.''
Efforts to stabilize Afghanistan are faltering because too little has been done to build an effective government and police force, according to a Pentagon-funded study released yesterday.
Afghan police have been "corrupt, incompetent, under-resourced and often loyal to local commanders rather than to the central government,'' according to the National Defense Research Institute, a center run by the non-partisan policy research group, the RAND Corporation.
Training Afghan police was a low priority for the U.S. until 2005 and it "will take at least a decade'' to build an acceptable force, according to the report.
Karzai agreed with Balkenende that the police force was a matter for concern, Agence France-Presse reported.
"This is a sector of Afghan security forces which received attention quite late,'' the news agency cited him as saying.
Afghanistan needs at least a decade before it can handle its own security and will have a "much better administration by 2010,'' Karzai told reporters, according to AFP.
The government in Kabul is backed by about 70,000 soldiers from more than 40 countries.
The national army currently stands at 57,000 personnel and is expected to rise to 80,000 early next year when it will have the manpower to lead the fight against the Taliban, U.S. Major General Robert Cone, who is in charge of training the force, said last month.
The nation has 79,000 police officers, close to the target of 82,000. Many are ill-trained and underpaid, Cone said.
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