06 April 2008

Impatience Key to Failure in Afghanistan

Let me give you just one example – the auxiliary police. Eighteen months ago the view of the Afghan government and many internationals was that there weren’t enough police in the South, so what we should do is create an auxiliary police – giving former militia a crash 10 day course in policing, and then letting them loose on the local population. When this scheme was announced, Crisis Group expressed the strong view that this was abandoning all pretence of a professional institution in favour of handing out guns and uniforms to men with ten days training and doubtful command and control. "But we must do something NOW" was the resounding response. Now the programme has been deemed a failure, many of the men (and their uniforms and guns) never seen again. And in its place new ideas for militias and "auxiliaries" and "community defence" are being floated. Crisis Group is once again told there is not time to concentrate on building national institutions. "We must do something NOW". Imagine if that year that had already been lost had been spent training properly field levels leaders in the south and pushing deep reform through the deeply corrupt Ministry of Interior?



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