Thursday, March 25, 2010

$6 Billion Later, Afghan Police Force is a Mess

Not unlike the billions lost in Iraq, the same malaise cause by a mixture of Imperial hubris, lack of transparency and the privatising of war: another nation building cock-up. This time round after sinking a staggering $6 billion (and that is just since 2002) into the Afghan police they have fuck all to show for the money and effort:
America has spent more than $6 billion since 2002 in an effort to create an effective Afghan police force, buying weapons, building police academies, and hiring defense contractors to train the recruits—but the program has been a disaster. ... The worst of it is that the police are central to Washington's plans for getting out of Afghanistan. The U.S.-backed government in Kabul will never have popular support if it can't keep people safe in their own homes and streets. Yet in a United Nations poll last fall, more than half the Afghan respondents said the police are corrupt. Police commanders have been implicated in drug trafficking, and when U.S. Marines moved into the town of Aynak last summer, villagers accused the local police force of extortion, assault, and rape.

Wow - extortion, assault, and rape; and we're not even on to the war crimes of the Taliban. What comes across in this article is that the local sort-of trust US forces, they sort-of trust (at least they know where they stand with..) the Taliban but the Afghan Cops are the worst of the lot. Here is another shocking bit of the story:
More than a year after Barack Obama took office, the president is still discovering how bad things are. At a March 12 briefing on Afghanistan with his senior advisers, he asked whether the police will be ready when America's scheduled drawdown begins in July 2011, according to a senior official who was in the room. "It's inconceivable, but in fact for eight years we weren't training the police," replied Caldwell, taking part in the meeting via video link from Afghanistan. "We just never trained them before. All we did was give them a uniform." The president looked stunned. "Eight years," he said. "And we didn't train police? It's mind-boggling." The room was silent.

So Bush and Bliar/Brown poured money into and presided over a regime that was failing to train the police that were the bed-rock of the counter insurgency? What a fucking joke. They have left a massive shit-pile for their predecessors to clean-up; it it can be done at all? I can't believe we let these people run not just one war, but multiple wars from Iraq to Somalia.

I wouldn't let them run a fairground ride.

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