Aftenposten Nettutgaven
 Tuesday September 30 2008
Aftenposten Nettutgaven First published: 29 Sep 2008, 15:24
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Police face huge training challenges in Afghanistan

Norwegian police, who have been trying for the past five years to help Afghanistan build up its own police force, have issued a report that suggests they're dealing with chaotic conditions involving sex, drugs, corruption and defectors to the Taliban.

Newly trained Afghan police photographed after a 10-day course in Kabul.

PHOTO: NILS-INGE KRUHAUG


Norwegian police officer Per Dalland (right) during a training mission in Afghanistan.

PHOTO: HEIKO JUNGE/SCANPIX


Newspaper Aftenposten obtained a copy of the Norwegian police's own report on their efforts, and it reveals the challenges they face:

  • In July, while Norwegian police were training instructors for the border police unit, an Afghan officer took two police cars and nine colleagues and defected to the Taliban, signing on with a local Taliban leader.
  • Drug tests performed on Afghan police undergoing training showed that 95 percent of them tested positive for cannabis and amphetamines.
  • The police were supposed to have destroyed 50,000 hectares of opium production, but only 4,300 were destroyed during the season.
  • Female Afghan police officers are the targets of sexual attacks by their superiors.
  • Afghan police are believed to be setting free persons arrested on narcotics offenses, probably in return for bribes.
  • "This is all, of course, very unfortunate," the section chief for international police cooperation in Norway's police directorate, Torgrim Moseby, told newspaper Aftenposten. "But it's not surprising.

    He said that many of those recruited for police work in Afghanistan have ties to old field marshalls who support the Taliban. British police have said that police training camps function more like rehabilitation centers, and that drugs are a huge problem.

    Norway has contributed NOK 48 million to the police training program. "These examples just show that we have no choice but to continue our contribution towards strengtheing police reform in Afghanistan, to shape democracy and safety," Moseby said. Anita Nergård of the Foreign Ministry agreed.

    "We see that the Afghan police are in a very difficult position," she said. "The need for international aid is huge."

    Aftenposten's reporters
    Per Anders Johansen
    Tor Arne Andreassen

    Aftenposten English Web Desk
    Nina Berglund


    Publisher: Aftenposten Multimedia A/S, Oslo, Norway.Telephone: +47 - 22 86 30 00.
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