The Sydney Morning Herald, October 11, 2010

AFP faces hard job to train corrupt candidates

Police taking bribes was often excused as a means of supplementing poor salaries, the report says


AUSTRALIAN officers are training Afghan police who are corrupt, obtain money from the Afghan drug trade and are often sexually abused or sexual abusers, a new report says.

The report, by the non-government organisation The Liaison Office in Afghanistan, comes as the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor, and the Federal Police Commissioner, Tony Negus, farewelled a group of 16 officers heading to Afghanistan to help train the nascent Afghan National Police.

Mohammad Moqim watches in despair as his men struggle with their AK-47 automatic rifles, doing their best to hit man-size targets 50 meters away. A few of the police trainees lying prone in the mud are decent shots, but the rest shoot clumsily, and fumble as they try to reload their weapons. The Afghan National Police (ANP) captain sighs as he dismisses one group of trainees and orders 25 more to take their places on the firing line. "We are still at zero," says Captain Moqim, 35, an eight-year veteran of the force. "They don't listen, are undisciplined, and will never be real policemen."
Newsweek, Mar. 20, 2010

The authors of the report, who studied the four-year Dutch control of the province, which ended this year, cast doubt on what kind of system federal police are supporting.

The general reputation of the Afghan National Police ''still revolves around drug addiction, ill-fitting uniforms, bad equipment, bribery, and extortion'', says the report. ''As one man sarcastically stated, 'There are no more criminals in Oruzgan, as they have all joined the ANP.' ''

Police taking bribes was often excused as a means of supplementing poor salaries, the report says. There was anecdotal evidence to suggest extortion was decreasing, but only because ''the ANP has begun to obtain revenue from the drug trade''.

Mr O'Connor and Mr Negus said they were aware of the concerns but it was important for the rule of law that Australia remained committed to ensuring Afghanistan had an effective police force.

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