Friday, October 31, 2008

US Cleaning Up Dirty Afghan Forces

Afghan National Army soldiers stand for the audience and Afghan National Army officers attending the commemoration of the first birthday of the 205th Afghan National Army Corps at Camp Shir Zai, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Sept. 21, 2005. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Leslie Angulo

From DoD Buzz:

The U.S. military in Afghanistan is trying to root out the corruption that has plagued that country’s army and police forces, said Army Col. Bill Hix, who is tasked with Afghan Army and police development in volatile southern Afghanistan, the heart of Taliban country. Hix, speaking to reporters last week by phone from Afghanistan, said he’s seen considerable progress in both Afghan police and Army performance, with police and army units fighting side-by-side in embattled Helmand province, scene of some of the heaviest fighting in recent years.

The performance of the Afghan police has lagged, in part, because the U.S. only really began funneling resources to the police training effort beginning last summer, whereas the Afghan Army training mission has been a priority for going on five years. The lack of attention given to beefing up the Afghan police has been one of the most glaring failures of the whole enterprise in Afghanistan. A competent police force is one of the most vital components in any counterinsurgency, as they are in daily contact with the population, are an essential part of providing security in cities, villages and the countryside, and are often the most/only visible government presence.

That also means the police are a primary target of insurgent attacks. The Afghan Ministry of Interior reports that 700 policemen were killed in the first six months of 2008. Hix said the Afghan police casualties run at a rate three times that of coalition and Afghan army casualties. That high casualty rate has begun to drop, he said, with a new training program and efforts to provide them with better weaponry.

Read more ....

My Comment: Afghan Army and Afghan police casualties this year have been horrendous. There may be corruption .... but there are also many brave Afghans who are in the fight, and who are doing the supreme sacrifice.

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