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The Killid Group
Good and bad copsWritten by Mahal
Sunday, 15 January 2012 11:36
Police have earned a bad name in Uruzgan and Kunduz provinces. But local people praise them in Kunar and Paktika.
Villagers complain that some people, armed by international forces, have been resorting to looting innocent people instead of policing. Pro-government civilian forces were built up to counter local militia when General David Petraeus was commander of NATO.
The NATO commander had hoped armed civilians would be able to buttress security in the province. The result has been the opposite. The armed civilians have been indulging in robberies and even in the killings of locals. Personal vendettas sometimes going back several decades have been found to be the reason in some of the incidents.
There are specific complaints from Khas Uruzgan district where US forces have given weapons and cash to people. Locals say the head of the armed men, a person called Shujayee has led the looting. He arrests people who are accused of being Talebs. He threatens to hand them over to US military forces unless they give him unspecified, large amounts of cash.
The authorities say they have no control over the men. Juma Gul, former district governor of Khas Uruzgan, says the men neither follow local government rules nor respect local sensitivities.
Meanwhile, security in the province has only deteriorated. The logjam has led to a breakdown of cooperation between the people and the government.
In Kunduz people complain the police have snatched motorcycles, mobile phones and money. Faiz Mohammad Bai from Khanabad district says police stole his friend's motorcycle. "When they have a gun in their hands will anyone argue?" he asks.
Police in Khas Kunar, Kunar province, feel there is more security since locals began patrolling the district. Ahmad Zia Sapai of Hakeemabad says previously police were not from the area. "They did not know about our customs. They had not got the support of people. There were so many security problems."
In Paktia province too the armed civilian police are praised for their behaviour. But there is a word of caution. The armed men were not educated, people said. They may not always be good for policing, they added.