WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Local Afghan police are poorly supplied and often asked to perform duties outside their mission, undercutting the effectiveness of the units created in 2010 to help bring security to rural people, U.S. investigators reported on Monday.
The U.S. military has spent about $470 million supporting Afghan Local Police (ALP) units since their inception and expects to spend another $420 million through 2018 to sustain the program, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in an audit report.
ALP units were established in 2010 under the authority of the ministry of the interior to expand security by training rural Afghans to defend their communities against insurgents. The units employed some 28,073 personnel as of August 2015 out of a total 30,000 authorized.
SIGAR investigators who audited the program found the logistics system that supports local police is inadequate, with supplies “often diverted, delayed, of inferior quality or heavily pilfered,” the report said.
ALP units are supposed to be resupplied using current ministry of the interior processes, but officials indicated that supplies are often diverted to Afghan National Police units or are delayed significantly.
“Without the necessary supplies at the unit level, the ALP’s ability to fulfill its mission will be hindered,” the report concluded.
The audit report also found that local police are often misused or assigned tasks they are not supposed to perform, such as providing personal security for government officials.
In one instance, coalition advisers stated that “a politician requested 50 ALP personnel and proceeded to use them as personal bodyguards,” the report said.
Another adviser said provisional police chiefs, who are appointed by the Afghan president, are not professional policemen and therefore “often lack the fundamental knowledge of how a police force should function.”
They also may be susceptible to political influence, the report said.
Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe