News / USA

NATO Focuses on Training Police Force in Afghanistan

Multimedia

Audio
Jennifer Glasse

The head of the NATO training mission is in Europe this week with his Afghan counterparts to attend the Afghan National Police Development conference in Brunssum, Holland, discussing the progress of the mission and soliciting support for more assistance.  Lieutenant General William Caldwell spoke exclusively to VOA.

Click to Listen:

Download/Play Audio File


Afghanistan's police force was considered unreliable and corrupt, so last fall NATO stepped in and a new training mission was established under Lieutenant General William Caldwell.

"And so on November 21st, 2009, we stood up a new command inside of Afghanistan because there was a real lack of overall coordination and collaboration as to how the help the police forces in that country," he said.  "And that was one of our primary missions.  We have the Army too, but police was a real void that needed to be addressed, and that is how NATO did it, by establishing this command."

His mission is to reform the existing police force and expand it.  He says what he started with was not ideal.

"We recognized within the country here, over half of the police have never been formally trained, so you have a police force out there of about 90,000, 95,000 people and less than half have ever received any formal training," he added.

He says major challenges include working with recruits who speak multiple languages and illiteracy.

"Only about probably 18 percent of our recruits who come in to be police have any level of literacy, and when I say literacy, we are talking about a 3rd grade level of basic reading and writing skills, so 80 percent have none," he noted.

But Caldwell says there is an even more basic problem.

"I would say our biggest challenge really is probably leadership," he explained.  "After 30 years of war here in Afghanistan there is no real leadership amongst the ranks, especially within the police forces.  It just does not exist."

NATO plans to expand the police force to 109,000 by the end of October.  One group it is targeting is Pashtuns from the south of Afghanistan.  Caldwell says they are not part of the police, probably because of Taliban influence in the region.  He is hoping the recent military operation in Helmand province will help spur Pashtuns to join.

"Once they have seen the Afghan security forces come through and clear, and now they see the Afghan government coming in with basic services and programs and development, the thought is they would then feel more inclined to serve as a part of the Afghan security forces and would be willing to sign up and become part of the police," said Caldwell.

Caldwell says corruption is a challenge across Afghanistan.  Low pay led police to ask for bribes, but last month NATO doubled the pay of officers.  A new recruit starts at about $165 a month, plus hazard pay, longevity pay and the opportunity for promotions.  

A new training culture is also part of the NATO plan for combating corruption among new recruits.

"If we can start as they first come in and teach them the right philosophy and the right habits, and then also work to get more mid-grade level leaders in there, through some leadership development programs we have just finished putting into place, then we are hoping that will eliminate the corruption we see," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has set a date of July 2011 as a benchmark to start drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  Caldwell says that date is about gauging progress toward the ultimate goal, letting Afhgans take control of their own security.

"I think that by the programs we put in place and the training that we are doing with the Afghans, so that they can be more responsible for things, that is probably a reasonable date that you can expect to see a difference starting to occur," he noted.  "But I do not think anybody thinks that that will be the point by which the mission here will be complete."

This week, Afghan president Hamid Karzai held talks with a Taliban-linked insurgent group.  Caldwell says any effort that supports a peaceful solution rather than a military one is positive.

"The ultimate solution for what happens in Afghanistan really does have to be led by the Afghanistan people and the government of Afghanistan if it is going to work.  It has got to be their solution to their problem that can endure and be best for their people," he said.

Caldwell says his main focus is on quality instead of quantity.  While he has a numerical goal to achieve, he says the best way to get there is to ensure the recruits they choose, have a real chance of completing the training, and becoming good police officers.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid