There’s no doubt: At checkpoints, on patrol, and at duty stations throughout Afghanistan, the Afghan National Police (ANP) are in the fight.
My directorate works with the Afghan Ministry of the Interior to build the communications capability the ANP needs to fight crime, fight terrorism, fight drugs, and fight corruption. This includes installing radio and computer systems across the MoI, supporing all branches of the ANP:
The Afghan Uniform Police is the nation’s law enforcement agency. It’s a national force…something like a combination of the FBI and US Marshal Service, our state highway patrols and rangers, county and parish sheriff departments, and our municipal police. Many are well-led and well-trained. And others are like the fictional Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane with a bunch of thugs.
The Afghan Border Police secure the borders and airports and have a major role in collecting tax revenue, much like the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Afghanistan has been a hub of International commerce since the days of the Silk Road, so there are tremendous opportunities here to increase the funds available to the government of Afghanistan. But of course there are also tremendous opportunities for corruption.
The ANP’s third main branch is the the Afghan Gendarmerie Force (AGF), sometimes known as the Afghan National Civil Order Police. An elite paramilitary force, the AGF deploys throughout Afghanistan to cover down on troubled police units and help out in troubled regions. Which means they deploy a LOT. Which means they have a REALLY hard time retaining qualified people. To help improve retention, the Ministry of the Interior is (finally) implementing a recovery – train-up – deployment schedule, similar to that used by the Coalition and Afghan military services.
Bottom line: The Afghan National Police are the first line of defense for Afghans against crime, terrorism, drugs, and corruption. It’s not the best defense, but it is getting better every day.
* Photo by Pietro Calogero, from his blog.