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US troop surge to aid Afghan police trainers
( Mar 13 2009 )

Kabul: The arrival of thousands of new US troops to Afghanistan this year will help meet a serious shortage of US police trainers who have so far coped with “less than ideal” circumstances, the US military said.


The US is to send 17,000 additional US troops to the war-torn country to bolster some 70,000 foreign troops, including 38,000 US soldiers, already on the ground battling a resurgent Taliban in the south and east. But military commanders have recognised any “surge” in foreign troops can ultimately only buy time to expand the Afghan army and the police which are seen as the long-term solution to Afghanistan’s security.


The US, which took over as the primary trainer of the Afghan police in 2007, needs around 1,500 more soldiers to carry out its mentoring program, according to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released yesterday.


Before Afghan and US-led forces toppled Taliban in late 2001, Afghanistan had little concept of the police and while progress has been made in developing the fledgling force, it is usually seen as corrupt and lagging behind the more professional army. In many isolated outposts, the police are the only face of the Afghan government and are vulnerable to insurgent attacks, but they are also renowned for milking the populace for bribes.


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