News

Key Local Afghan Police Force Slow to Catch On

<I>This is part three of David Axe's three part series on efforts to hand over security to Afghans. <a href="http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Coalition-Forces-Train-Local-Police-to-Stop-Taliban-142463925.html">Part 1</a> | <a href="http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Afghan-Alliance-in-Key-Town-Threatened-by-Mistrust-of-Police-142465085.html">Part 2</a>

David Axe

With the Obama administration's plan to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by 2014, U.S.-led coalition forces are racing against the clock to train a new local police force in one vital Afghan town. But it is not easy convincing eligible men to enlist.

Coalition planners say they need 100 police officers to secure Marzak. Village elders promised at least that many men would volunteer for a new Afghan Local Police force. But by late January, fewer than 50 had stepped forward.

Noor Khan, the district chief of the national police, worries that without enough recruits, the coalition will be blind in Marzak.

"Right now we need the ALPs because they are of these people and from this town and they can identify potential bad guys who don't belong," said Khan.

After elders skip a scheduled meeting in late January, Sergeant Scott Herring leads a force of U.S. and Afghan soldiers into Marzak, seeking fresh recruits -- and an explanation.

"Right now, we've come into this town, and we were hoping that we would be able to get in touch with the elders who were supposed to meet us at 11:00 as they promised us, with recruits, which they did not. So we came here to see if we could find them and meet up with them, and the whole city is abandoned," said Herring.

Spotting a few young men, Herring pitched police service to them without success. Herring finally tracked down several elders. They reluctantly offered up excuses.

"This is a heavily, as you know already, heavily Taliban area," Herring noted.  "They're scared. They're scared of repercussions and all these things. It's hard to get them to understand that the stronger we make them, there's no repercussions because they'll be too strong for anyone to come in here and do anything to them. That's the convincing we have to get through [to them]."

With daylight fading and still no new recruits, the Afghan troops accompanying the Americans come up with a plan.

The Afghan soldiers announce they will force the elders to enlist unless at least 20 young men volunteer. The threat works. Herring gets his 20 recruits and more.

The patrol returned to base, its ranks swelled by reluctant enlistees.

Perkins defended the forceful tactics of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

"The general consensus is early on, the development of the Afghan security forces tends to rely a little bit heavily, or more heavily, on forceful recruiting or conscription," said Perkins.  "Then as time goes by, a critical mass starts to develop, and more people feel comfortable joining."

But there's one question no one has answered. Will the new police officers be willing to risk their lives fighting the Taliban, especially after U.S. troops leave Afghanistan in 2014?

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs