A failing program

Pentagon Defends Afghan Local Police Program

The Pentagon defended a program Monday that recruits local police forces in Afghan villages despite a U.S.-funded report that raises questions about the militia’s performance and alleged abuses.

Top officers, including the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, have portrayed the Afghan Local Police initiative as a crucial tool in rolling back the Taliban in rural areas.

But the unpublished study commissioned by the Defense Department and prepared by the RAND Corporation think tank offers a less optimistic analysis, according to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the report.

The study found that one in five U.S. special operations teams advising the local police units said the Afghan militia had committed violence or abused civilians, and there were recent allegations of bribe taking, rape and drug trafficking, the newspaper said…

Working with the ANP on one of my last missions in country

Of course they are defending this largely failed program. Pride gets in the way of many people admitting their are wrong. For an agency like the DoD, there is now way they are going to publicly admit defeat. When this program was announced a couple of years ago I said then I thought it would not work.

It was patterned after the “Sons of Iraq” program which GEN Petreaus had great success with, but Iraq is not Afghanistan. The motivations, values and beliefs of Afghans are not the same as Iraqis. This program was ripe for corruption and bad things to happen. I know that may sound negative but that is just how I saw it.

We took over mentoring of the police in 2007, which was a little five years after we had ben working with the Afghan Army. The level of corruption was off the charts with the police at the time and as I have said on this blog a few times, when we started mentoring the police we felt as if we were mentoring the enemy we had been fighting for the last 8 months.

I am not saying that at the micro level that good things haven’t happened. I know when I worked with the Afghan police we made some progress, but at the macro level those small steps of progress didn’t amount to much. In my humble opinion, the DoD needs to just admit that not every strategy works in every situation. Sometimes they just don’t work out. It never has since they started this program and it still isn’t.

Read the whole story at http://www.military.com/news/article/pentagon-defends-afghan-local-police-program.html

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