4 years ago
From The Sacramento Bee:
A local policing venture in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kapisa province is faltering as men leave the force because their wages have been cut.
The men are part of the Afghan Local Police, originally village militias that have been brought under a centralized command structure since last year. They remain distinct from the regular Afghan National Police, ANP.
In Kapisa’s Tagab and Alasai districts, around 40 men are said to have left the force after effective command shifted six months ago from France’s NATO contingent stationed in the area to the Afghan interior ministry.
Until the changeover, they say, they were paid good wages by the French army, which also supplied weapons and conducted joint operations with them.
“The French troops stationed in Kapisa used to provide us with all kinds of assistance. They paid our salaries and gave us arms and ammunition. But once we were transferred to the interior ministry, everything became disorganized,” Nazir Ahmad, who has resigned from the local police in Tagab, said.
He added that although the local police created security over large swathes of territory, they were more or less ignored by the Afghan authorities.
“The government pays wages of 150 dollars (a month), but the payments have been held up for several months. And it’s a low wage,” Nazir Ahmad said. “The (ANP) police headquarters doesn’t care about us. Even if the Taliban kill us all, police headquarters isn’t going to help us.”
His concerns were echoed by Mazar, deputy commander of Afghan Local Police unit in Tagab’s Landakhel area, who said the French had paid wages of $500 a month, not the $150 the government was offering.
“We’re unhappy about this process. Ever since we were incorporated into the interior ministry, we’ve had no supplies and our wages have been delayed for months,” he said.
He said lack of resources meant his police were unable to perform as effectively as they used to. In one recent clash with the Taliban, their Kalashnikov rifles proved no match for the heavier weapons deployed by the insurgents.
Under French control, Mazar said, “We had trained up some people behind the Taliban lines … to inform us about their movements, in return for payment. We provided good security in the region, but now we can’t do anything. Our militia members are having to leave their jobs and go into some other business.”
If their rifles proved no match for the “heavier weapons deployed by the insurgents,” it’s likely that the Taliban are utilizing crew served weapons against the police. The French left Taliban using crew served weapons, and the ANP to maintain security and combat the Taliban. The French are back home enjoying good wine and food, while the “system” they set up is collapsing and leading to an exodus of the ANP and even death in some cases.
Honestly, this reads like a bad joke. But it isn’t, and it is a sign of things to come as we draw down forces in Afghanistan.