The Afghan Local Police or ALP was established by U.S. special operations forces (SOF) in 2011 in an attempt to provide local defense forces in key districts of Afghanistan. The ALP program has had limited support from the U.S. military since 2014. The ALP program has transitioned to full Afghan control. At present, there is a Special Operations Advisory Group (SOAG) that works with the ALP Directorate within the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI).
For the ALP program to have continued success a number of activities in the Ministry of Interior need to be improved – including improved logistics, personnel management, and adequate training. A recent RAND Corporation publication examines the current state of the Afghan Local Police, provides key findings, and makes some important recommendations.
Findings. The study points out that the MoI “. . . has made some strides to improve its logistic practices and results.” However, the Coalition’s ability to monitor the Afghan Local Police’s logistic situation at district level has been significantly curtailed since the dramatic drawdown of U.S. and Coalition troop levels. Personnel management of the ALP program has improved – the Afghans are doing this entirely on their own. However, there are some local militia groups that have adopted the ALP banner causing confusion among some critics and observers. The ALP are (according to the MoI) sufficiently trained but there are some limitations in the current program.
Recommendations. The RAND study advocates for the continued use of advisors for the ALP program. There is concern that the MoI is not ready for a ‘pull-based’ logistics system and that this should be phased in gradually. A hybrid training system may work better than a centralized training program. A RAND recommendation points to the option of “. . . a combination of regional training centers, local training venues, and mobile training teams”. The study suggests that a multi-level coalition advisory structure be maintained to ensure a long-term sustainment capability.
You can read the RAND Corporation report:
Marquis, Jefferson, et al. Assessing the Ability of the Afghan Ministry of Interior to Support the Afghan Local Police, RAND Corporation, July 2016.
Afghan Local Police by Afghan War News
Photo Credit: ALP training in Panjwei district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Photo by SPC Joshua Kruger, DVIDS.