The third part of this series focuses on the Afghan National Police (ANP). Canadian Maj. Gen. Mike Ward, deputy commander-Police, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, recently briefed bloggers on the current state of the ANP and the progress made since the NTM was established.
Afghanistan created its national police academy about 75 years ago. However, the next step, a police staff college, has not existed for some 40 years. Many ANP recruits were going into the field without having been through the academy first.
NTM is working with its Afghan partners to create an ANP staff college as well as a non-commissioned officers academy. The Afghan National Civil Order Police just identified fifty outstanding NCOs who are being sent to a six month training course where they will emerge as officers. The Western model of a police officer working his way up the chain of command to Chief has not been the usual way in Afghanistan and this program will leaven the ANCOP officer ranks with men who have experience in the enlisted ranks.
Ward talked about the ANP’s reputation for corruption. A recent pay increase has brought police pay into parity with military pay. That has affected the need for shakedowns for many of the police. It has also increased recruitment.
General Ward told the bloggers that nearly 30 nations are providing training to the Afghan police, either through the NATO framework or in bi-lateral missions. Training is going on within Afghanistan at 27-30 different sites. At this time, NATO is concerned about building Afghan capacity so the policy is to use training outside of the country very sparingly.
One other issue that Ward discussed was the ethnic balance of the police. In this case, unlike the army, many of the local police units reflect the ethnic makeup of the local community. The national police leadership is reflective of ethnic balance, but the boots on the ground reflect their community. He pointed out that within ethnic groups there are tribal divisions, and it is possible that some tribes may feel unrepresented and left out of local policing.
SSgt. Sarah Brown, USAF, recently authored a piece discussing many of these same topics. Titled Fixing the Afghan National Police, it covered the work of the Kandahar Regional Training Center, where a six week course trains police recruits. Each session can train 316 police officers, and the trainees include many serving police who never received basic training. By October 2010, the goal is to have 109,000 serving Afghan National Police.
Major General Ward responded to a piece about the ANP on the CIGI website April 4, 2010. He identified the NTM priorities as â€œQuality and Quantity, and Leader developmentâ€. He identified long term staffing goals as having 120,000 police by March of 2011 and 134,000 police by October 2011.
Ward described the basic police training as 265 instruction hours with a week of 5.5 days. In those hours are 64 hours of literacy instruction for every new police officer.
It is clear from Maj. Gen. Ward’s comments that the ANP have some challenges to overcome. Additional personnel from both allied police agencies and the military are augmenting the training staff and mentoring existing police units in the field. The future course of the ANP remains less clear than of Afghanistan’s military.