The creation of a stable and well-functioning state requires a well-trained police force that is not corrupt, but abides by the law and enforces the law without bias. Afghanistan is not anywhere close to such a police force. According to a Congressional Research Service report (see Atlantic Review post) "the United States has become more active in training the Afghan police, possibly as a result of the reported deficiencies in German training." Now it seems that the US training has failed as well: "Five years after the fall of the Taliban, a joint report by the Pentagon and the State Department has found that the American-trained police force in Afghanistan is largely incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement work, and that managers of the $1.1 billion training program cannot say how many officers are actually on duty or where thousands of trucks and other equipment issued to police units have gone." writes the New York Times:
The training experts say the United States made some of the same mistakes in training police forces in Afghanistan that it made in Iraq, including offering far too little field training, tracking equipment poorly and relying on private contractors for the actual training. At the same time, those experts say, the failure to create viable police forces to keep order and enforce the law on a local level has played a pivotal role in undermining the American efforts to stabilize both countries. In Afghanistan, the failure has contributed to the explosion in opium production, government corruption and the resurgence of the Taliban. In Iraq, the challenge is even larger: Sectarian death squads have infiltrated the police force and helped push the country to what many are now calling a civil war.Ulrich Speck writes in his Kosmoblog (in German) that Germany should conduct such evaluations as well. Indeed, the German police training and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere should be evaluated with scrutiny. In the long run, Germany can only justify its refusal to send troops to South Afghanistan, if the German policies prove successful, argues Ulrich Speck. Thus, a lot has to be done regarding reconstruction in the North and the police training in the entire country.
The International Herald Tribune has written about criticism of Germany:
Germany is coming under severe criticism for failing to train an effective Afghan police force to provide security for the local population and help NATO against Taliban insurgents in the south, according to military officials and defense experts. The criticism of Germany, which has been leading the program to train the Afghan police since 2002, comes as the European Union - under pressure from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to play a greater role in providing security - agreed Tuesday [November 14, 2006] to send a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan to study taking over the program.41 German police training instructors is totally insufficient.
"I strongly believe that we should strengthen our efforts to build up the police force and that we should ask ourselves if our contribution to reforming the political institutions, especially the rule of law, is sufficient," the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Monday at a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Brussels.
So far, Germany has only 41 police officers involved in training the Afghan police. Since 2002, it has spent €70 million, or $89.7 million, in training 16,000 police, most of them officers and non- commissioned officers. In comparison, the United States has spent $862.2 million to train 40,000 police, mostly highway and border personnel. By 2007, a total of 62,000 police will have been trained by Germany, the United States and Norway, according to the German Foreign Ministry. (...) NATO's top military commander, General James Jones, has repeatedly criticized Germany's role in training the Afghan police and the police's inability to protect civilians. "The training has been very disappointing," Jones said in a recent interview.
One reason, why the US training of an Afghan policeman is much more expensive than the German training, is probably the use of private contractors by the US, like DynCorp International of Virginia. According to the above mentioned NYT article police training experts said that what needs to be investigates is also "the quality of private contractors and the cost and effectiveness of relying on them to train the police officers."
A well-trained police force, that is not very corrupt, is crucial for creating a stable Afghanistan. Germany's failure in this regard is more severe than the refusal to send troops to South Afghanistan. Building institutions like the police force is of more importance than just fighting insurgents, but unfortunately the NATO debates seem to focus on the fighting in the South.
• About training the Afghan army: Tom Koenigs, the UN representative in Afghanistan, who is also a member of the German Green Party, is quoted in The Guardian: "In forthright comments which highlight divisions between international partners as Nato battles to quell insurgency, Mr Koenigs said that training the fledgling Afghan national army to defeat the Taliban was crucial. 'They [the ANA] can win. But against an insurgency like that, international troops cannot win.'"
• The Christian Science Monitor highlights the drug problem that undermines the Afghan government's authority:
The Taliban and FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - both got their start protecting peasants from corrupt governments. There's evidence both initially fought narcotics traffic but then levied taxes on the trade for much-needed cash. Over time, the FARC began to use its soldiers to protect shipments, and took over coca factories. They forced farmers under their control to grow coca. Eventually, they became self-sufficient and set up a parallel government in their semiautonomous zone. They now earn an estimated $500 million a year from cocaine.
• Spiegel: NATO Chaos Deepens in Afghanistan: "The Germans Have to Learn How to Kill"
• DW World: US Calls on Germany for Riskier Afghanistan Missions
• German Embassy in Washington: German Troops Will Not be Transferred within Afghanistan: "A transfer of forces from northern Afghanistan to the southern part of the country would endanger the peaceful development in the northern provinces. The Federal Government is not only relying on the military component. Development aid, creation of institutions, and assistance for the Afghan police are all an integral part of the support services."
• Related post in the Atlantic Review: Afghanistan Intervention "on the cheap"
Atlantic Review on : Trans-Atlantic Cooperation: Are Europeans Unwilling to Share the Burden?
Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier are disappointed by European contributions to the transatlantic alliance and want to globalize NATO to enhance burden sharing with other democracies. In their Financial Times op-ed &quot;US and Europe must learn about allia