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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs