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The Killid Group
Mixed response to local policeWritten by Taj Muhammad Mubin
Monday, 08 November 2010 11:02
Residents of Kandahar are optimistic about the Ministry of Interior (MoI) move to form a 10,000 local police force. They say upon formation of the police force, there will be security at district and village levels. However, some experts are not enthusiastic about the government's move.
The 'Local Security Force' will work under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior and have its own salary. Weapons will be provided by the MoI but will have a shortened localized training course. Their uniforms will be different so as to distinguish them from the Afghan National Police. The local police have been created as a temporary force in order to overcome the shortage of Afghan National Police force in the more volatile areas and are expected to be disbanded once there is security in the places of their deployment.
There are nearly ninety thousand policemen on duty in the country. The spokesman for MoI, Zemarai Bashary says the Ministry is considering deploying local police in Gizab of Uruzgan province, Barmal of Paktika, Shindand of Herat and in Pusht Road of Farah province as well.
People of Kandahar say that the local police force will be more successful than the one that comes from other areas. A Kandahar local, Ahmad Jawid, says they will be more familiar with their area and have more information about the people and insurgents, which can give them an advantage. He feels the government should provide the local police with some professional training. Some others also believe that it will bridge the gap between the people and the government. "The local police will play a pivotal role in providing security; the government should strengthen and support them with many benefits", says another Kandahar resident, Habib Rahman, who feels that the 80 local police deployed in Arghandab has contributed to improving the security.
However, some experts are not too enthusiastic about the government's move. They feel the local police will fuel hostility and enmity among villagers. Analyst Bismullah Ghazni says there are many people in rural areas with old feuds and if the government arms them, they might use the arms against each other. "There is no guarantee that the locals will not fight each other after the government provides them with arms. If they're armed, they will create more obstacles to security. Why not strengthen the national police instead?"
Others fear that the formation of local police force will weaken the national police and many policemen may leave the national police to join the local one, which will be more convenient, being closer to their homes.
"Experience in the past shows that the police have always tried to work in areas they come from", says Din Muhammad Didar, a military expert based in Kandahar. The security chief of Kandahar, Sardar Muhammad Zazai says the success of the local police is predicated upon how well they're trained. "The process will soon begin in some districts and their success is predicated on how well they're trained and paid", he says.