Advisers Help Afghan Police to Become Self Sufficient

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2010 — Advis­ers in Afghanistan are cre­at­ing devel­op­ment plans to increase Afghan capa­bil­i­ty in run­ning the government’s Min­istry of Inte­ri­or on a self-suf­fi­cient basis.

“We have a two-year plan where we think in 2012 the min­istry will be self-suf­fi­cient, and they’ll be able to oper­ate the orga­ni­za­tion on their own with very lit­tle assis­tance from us,” senior U.S. advis­er David Clifton said on a recent “DoDLive” blog­gers round­table. Clifton and his team are a com­po­nent of U.S. Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan.

Clifton said he and his advis­ers coach Afghan lead­ers on min­is­te­r­i­al and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment and build­ing a stand-alone Afghan Nation­al Police force. The Afghan government’s Min­istry of Inte­ri­or in the cap­i­tal city of Kab­ul, he not­ed, is respon­si­ble for the country’s police forces, oth­er inter­nal secu­ri­ty forces, and counter-nar­cotics forces.

The goal, Clifton said, is to deter­mine the basic func­tions of the inte­ri­or min­istry and to men­tor the Afghans so that they can take charge.

“We’re sort of the pilot instruc­tor with our hands on the con­trols, but they’re in the cock­pit watch­ing us,” he said.

One of the areas of focus, Clifton said, is help­ing the Afghan police to devel­op a counter-insur­gency secu­ri­ty force.

“The mis­sion that we are try­ing to assist them in right now trains the police for the COIN envi­ron­ment, and cre­at­ing secu­ri­ty for the pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

There also is improve­ment in the train­ing capac­i­ty of the Afghan police, Clifton said. In the ini­tial stages of build­ing the police force, he said, the train­ing was not uni­form­ly applied. Now, he said, the process is to “recruit, train and assign,” so that the police are being trained before they are deployed.

“The train­ing is get­ting bet­ter,” Clifton said. “I think police are going out there more capa­ble every day.”

Clifton said one of the areas where the Afghan police are doing well is coun­ternar­cotics.

“They have a pros­e­cu­tor, and they have a good sys­tem of iden­ti­fy­ing the crim­i­nals, and appre­hend­ing the crim­i­nals, and pros­e­cut­ing the crim­i­nals, and con­vict­ing the crim­i­nals,” he said.

Clifton said there also are efforts to edu­cate farm­ers on how to grow oth­er crops instead of pop­py to cut down on nar­cotics traf­fick­ing and active plans to help treat peo­ple who have become drug depen­dent.

Anoth­er ini­tia­tive, he said, involves putting poli­cies into place to get rid of cor­rup­tion in the police force. One new pol­i­cy, he added, has estab­lished pay par­i­ty between the police and the army so the police can have a liv­ing wage and be less tempt­ed by cor­rup­tion.

The police have also devel­oped six mobile anti-cor­rup­tion teams that go around and inves­ti­gate reports of in-ranks cor­rup­tion, Clifton said. To do this, he said, the police employ what they call a “119” line, which is designed for peo­ple to call and report instances of cor­rup­tion.

“There’s a great invest­ment in improv­ing the over­all qual­i­ty of life of the police offi­cers, which I believe is anoth­er aspect of cor­rup­tion,” Clifton said. “If you pay the police and you pro­vide them with rea­son­able qual­i­ty of life — they’re being equipped bet­ter — then I think that reduces the pro­cliv­i­ty for cor­rup­tion.”

The Afghan police have much to learn, Clifton acknowl­edged, but he added that he’s opti­mistic because of the resilien­cy and per­se­ver­ance of the Afghan peo­ple.

“Work­ing with the Afghans is a cause worth pur­su­ing and endur­ing,” Clifton said. “I’m opti­mistic about the capa­bil­i­ties of the Afghan peo­ple, to not only build a viable force, but also to oper­ate, train that force, and sus­tain it on their own.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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