Corruption preventing US from training Afghan Police, Army

April 9th, 2009 - 5:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Ghazni (Afghanistan), Apr.9 (ANI): Training the Afghan National Police and Army has apparently become a nightmare for the Americans.

If the experience of the American troops already training police officers in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province is any indication, better policing may be impossible for Afghanistan unless government officials at all levels stop cannibalising their civil administration and police force for profit.The New York Times quoted exasperated American soldiers, as saying it was hard to determine which was their more daunting opponent - the few thousand Taliban who ruled villages through a shadow government of mullahs, or corruption so rife that it had deeply undercut efforts to improve the police and had destroyed many Afghans’ faith in government.

That lack of trust, coupled with the absence of security forces in almost all villages, further strengthens the hand of the Taliban as the only real power here.

Ghazni’s experience shows the challenge that corruption presents to efforts to establish better policing throughout the country.

The list of schemes that undermine law enforcement is long and bewildering, according to American and Afghan officers.

Some examples include police officials who steal truckloads of gasoline; judges and prosecutors who make decisions based on bribes; high-ranking government officials who reap payoffs from hashish and chromite smuggling; and mid-level security and political jobs that are sold, sometimes for more than 50,000 dollars, money the buyers then recoup through still more bribes and theft.

In some cases the American officers requested that their names not be used when discussing specific allegations or that the titles of certain Afghan government and police leaders be withheld, since it would otherwise make it impossible to work with these officials, an important part of their mission.

But the frustration was palpable.

The result is an ineffective and woefully undersupplied Afghan police force and a frustrating lack of justice for Afghans. (ANI)

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