Lawmakers in Parliament and independent analysts Monday offered mixed reviews of the performance of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) units active around Afghanistan. While the local policing units have proven an effective force for stability and rule of law in some parts of the country, in others, they have been accused of negligence, corruption and abuses of power.
The Chair of the Lower House’s Internal Security Commission, Mirdad Khan Nijrabi, maintains that ALP activities have been very fruitful in promoting national security interests. “Their information from local areas and the cooperation of local residents with them has been very crucial in this regard,” MP NIjrabi said.
Meanwhile, other members of the commission have raised concerns about the government’s ability wield control over the almost 40,000 of young Afghans that have joined the ranks of the ALP. Salih Mohammad Salih questioned what could happen if the government became unable to pay the salaries all the officers expect. “They can become a headache to the country if what I said happens,” he said. “I think the allocated budget for ALP should be spent for supporting the National Police and the Afghan Army.”
The mixed feelings about the role the ALP has played around the country is further illustrated among the sentiments of independent security analysts. Salih Registani, a military affairs expert, says ALP officers can be broken down into two categories: those who have rolled up their sleeves to help the Afghan people, and then those who are bullies and abuse their authorities for personal gain.
“The logic behind the establishment of the ALP is based on a temporary need,” Registani told TOLOnews. “Whenever Afghanistan becomes stable and secure, the local police should be disarmed and its members should pursue a normal life. Therefore, it is possible that the forces will change into a challenge and a headache to the government and the country,” he added.
According to Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Sediq Seddiqi, a new mechanism will eventually be adopted to manage ALP activities around the country. For now, he said, the ministry will enforce accountability measures.
“The ministry has brought seismic changes in the authorities of ALP forces aimed at increasing efficacy and overcoming their problems,” Seddiqi said.
The ALP was established five years back in a bid to better ensure security in remote parts of the country. There are 30,000 ALP forces serving in several parts of Afghanistan.