Afghanistan Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi has said that the police are the hardest hit in the attacks by the Taliban and Islamic State insurgents. The Afghan police have been struggling for reinforcements and food supplies while deployed in the outposts and checkpoints around the country. Andrabi said that the reforms were not easy but it could be done in a gradual manner. “I don’t say it is easy or doable in a day, or a month or a year, but it is doable,” he said. Andrabi claimed that he has instituted a whole new recruitment and promotion system which is based on merit and not contacts.
According to the Interior Minister, the current crop of leaders in the security sector don’t have the background of different factions or groups, unlike the initial police recruits. The initial recruits were former militia members and they were loyal to different warlords. Without a legacy of fighting, Andrabi thinks that the new leaders make a team with common belief. “This all makes it a ‘different police’ and a hope for the future ... where the effort of the international community is not being wasted,” he said.
US President Donald Trump had vehemently criticized the state of Afghan security forces saying American soldiers have taken their job. After Trump cancelled the meeting with the Taliban leaders, which was touted as peace negotiations, he expressed his frustration over the lack of support from the Afghan security forces. He said that it was time Afghanistan’s security forces stepped up allowing Washington to end its longest war.
In order to root out corruption, Andrabi brought a computerized data system to track the allegations of corruption against officers. The recent reports were not encouraging as a major corruption case involving security forces came out in the open. Around 35,000 ‘ghost personnel’ were spotted through the new system. “These fake police and soldiers exist only on paper, collecting wages in order for corrupt commanders ‘to pocket the salaries’,” said a report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction. According to the report, the police force has been reduced to just under 91,600 as the new system cleaned up 25,000 possible ’ghost’ personnel.
(Inputs from AP)