Development News from Afghanistan

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Afghan police ‘under-equipped’

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By Pam O’Toole
BBC News / Friday, 13 July 2007

A senior American army officer in Afghanistan says that only about 40% of the police force is properly equipped.

But he said resources are now in place to solve the problem.

Speaking at the end of his tour of duty, Maj-Gen Robert Durbin said much progress had been made in building the fledgling army and police force.

There are currently around 35,000 operational troops in the Afghan army, with plans for those numbers to double by the end of 2008.


The 70,000 strong police force is due to increase to 82,000 in the same period of time.

The Afghan army and police have borne the brunt of attacks by Taleban-led insurgents over recent years.

But while the army is relatively well equipped and trained, Maj-Gen Durbin – the outgoing head of the section of the coalition which is training the army and police – said only around 40% of police force is properly equipped.

He attributed this to the fact that until 18 months ago, the international community had provided almost $2bn for reforming Afghanistan’s army, but less than a tenth of that had been invested in the police force.

Maj-Gen Durbin said resources were now beginning to come in to properly equip the police.

Last year a US government report concluded the Afghan police were largely incapable of carrying out their law enforcement responsibilities because of corruption, illiteracy, low pay, bad equipment, the insurgency and insufficient training.

Many Afghans said they have lost confidence in the force, alleging that many policemen top-up their pay – which at $70 a month is about a third less than that of an army recruit – with bribes from petty criminals or from drug smugglers.

Afghans have accused the police of rampant corruption and being involved in extortion, kidnapping and robbery.

There are now moves to increase police salaries – and the US has said that reforming the force is now one of its top priorities.

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Written by afghandevnews

July 14, 2007 at 4:44 am

Posted in Security

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