Afghan Local Police Program Falls Short, Study Finds
A U.S.-backed program to recruit police in rural Afghanistan has failed to significantly stem the insurgency, with some units becoming deeply entangled in criminal activity, including bribe-taking and extortion, according to a Pentagon-funded study.
The 13,000-member Afghan Local Police has been hailed by U.S. commanders as a vital, homegrown defense force in areas where the Taliban-led insurgency is strongest. But the unpublished study obtained by The Times contradicts official U.S. claims that the police are driving down attacks.
U.S. officials plan to increase the force to more than 30,000 as American troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
The study, based on classified data and produced for the U.S. special operations command in Afghanistan, presents a much less positive picture.
It found that one in five U.S. special operations teams advising the local police units complained that they had committed violence or otherwise abused civilians. In recent months, some U.S. troops accused the Afghan police of drug abuse, bribe-taking, rape and drug-trafficking.