New approach to Afghan local security
Plans are being drawn up to form a new Afghan security unit to patrol dangerous areas where the Taliban insurgency is most acute, government officials said on Saturday.To be effective these new units must act with NATO troops to provide local security and protect the people from the Taliban. The program appears to be a leap ahead of the "Concerned Local Citizens" program used effectively in Iraq. That program took advantage of insurgents who had rallied to our side who wanted to protect their own neighborhood. There are not many groups like that in Afghanistan.
The unit, to be funded by the United States, will have its own uniform and work alongside the Afghan National Police (ANP), using the same weapons as the ANP who have AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles, Interior Minister Hanif Atmar told a news conference.
He did not say how the unit would be recruited, how large it would be or exactly where it would be deployed.
Both NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan have spoken in the past few months about plans to recruit police from within communities by cooperating with community leaders and tribal elders in order to secure remote areas overrun by insurgents.
Some Afghan politicians have raised concerns about the units' resemblance to earlier and failed attempts to police hard-to-reach and hostile districts, which effectively out-sourced police work to local militias.
But Atmar insisted the new unit would come under the command of Afghan national security forces and would not use, or resemble, any kind of militia.
Counterterrorism Blog has more on the attempts to bring an awakening to Afghanistan.