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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs