Development News from Afghanistan

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Afghan police training to be standardized

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By Judy Dempsey
International Herald Tribune
Monday, August 27, 2007

BERLIN: The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have agreed with the Afghan government to introduce common standards in building up the police force in Afghanistan after several governments criticized the lack of coordination since the program was set up five years ago, officials said over the weekend.

The decision comes as violence there rises. The Interior Ministry said 41 people were killed and at least six wounded in suicide bombings and gun battles near the capital, Kabul, over the weekend. In the southern province of Kandahar, eight Afghan officers were killed after insurgents attacked a police patrol. Two Afghans who were guarding a convoy carrying supplies for NATO-led forces were also killed, The Associated Press reported.

The agreement to standardize police training means that different methods adopted by the United States, Germany and other countries will be put under a single new authority: the International Police Coordination Board Secretariat, based in Kabul.

The international approach, agreed to with President Hamid Karzai, could be the start of a more efficient police force able to move in quickly to maintain security once a military operation has been completed and provide protection to development agencies so that the local population can see tangible improvements to their living conditions.

“There was replication previously,” Colonel Many-Bears Grinder of the U.S. Army, deputy head of the police secretariat, said during an interview with the International Herald Tribune over the weekend. “When you have limited manpower and resources, it does not make sense to waste these resources in the duplication of efforts where there are other areas that may need some of those resources.”

Grinder is assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command, the American-led military unit that supervises the development of the security forces.

After October 2001, when the United States invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, Germany and the United States agreed to take over the responsibility of establishing and training a new police force.

Until 2006, the United States spent more than $1.3 billion in training a force that is mostly focused on border control and highway security in courses lasting about three weeks. Germany, in contrast, spent €70 million, or $95 million, training officers in courses that lasted up to three years and concentrated on community policing.

Security experts have said that the U.S. course was too short, and the German courses too long and bureaucratic.

The courses also failed to train a force capable of dealing with the growing narcotics trade or the re-establishment of the Taliban, those experts said. The EU took over the German police training mission this summer, increasing the number of trainers from about 50 to nearly 200.

“This is now becoming a coordinated effort,” Grinder said. “We also strive for an international joint effort in reviewing the curriculums as well as projects.”

She said the training for police officers and for the most basic training levels were now under review. The International Police Coordination Board Secretariat was also working closely with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

One project, she said, involved training police officers about rights. “We are trying to get human rights offices assigned in every province, down to the district level,” Grinder said.

Conflicting reports on clash

Afghan elders said Sunday that airstrikes had killed 12 civilians in the southern province of Helmand on Saturday night, but an American military spokesman blamed Taliban militants for the civilian deaths, The New York Times reported from Kabul.

Exactly what occurred in the remote area was unclear. But the charges and countercharges reflected growing tensions in Afghanistan over civilian deaths.

Hajji-Agha Muhammad, an Afghan elder, said airstrikes had killed 12 civilians and wounded 12 others in Kobar, a village in the volatile Musa Qala district, Saturday night. Muhammad said the dead included six children ages 3 to 6 and two women.

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Written by afghandevnews

August 27, 2007 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Security

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