The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a new report assessed the Afghan National Police under the previous republic government.
The report said that "underdeveloped investigative techniques" used by the Afghan police under the former government led to "widespread use of illegal detention and torture" and the Islamic Emirate forces were welcomed in some places as "liberators."
The report also said that to survive, the police were forced to increase their military tactics and defensive posture, “which resulted in a police force less engaged with the local population and unable to respond to many of their security needs.”
“Civilian police advisors also faced considerable challenges visiting high-conflict areas to train, mentor, or reform the police on professional policing practices. Instead, that task was often turned over to untrained military officers, who reinforced the teaching of military tactics,” the report read.
The report named the lack of an effective nationwide police force as one of the significant factors contributing to the collapse of the Afghan National Police.
“Many factors have contributed to this situation, but one of the most important lies in Afghan history: Afghanistan has never had an effective nationwide police force dedicated to protecting its citizens. Its police have existed to protect government power, often through corrupt or abusive means,” the report cited.
SIGAR said that when the US entered Afghanistan, many Afghans believed that the United States and international community would transition the nation from a war-torn and underdeveloped country to one with stability and an improved economy.
“That substantial donor support was not forthcoming. Instead, in 2002, the United States and the UN adopted a “light footprint” approach of deploying only a few thousand international peacekeepers—a strategy that allowed the United States to focus time and resources on the larger Global War on Terrorism,” SIGAR said. “In ignoring what they characterized as “nation-building” in Afghanistan, the United States and UN did not heed the lessons identified in 2000 from the U.S. and international missions in the Balkans: the vital importance of quickly establishing security and rule of law through the deployment of civilian police as soon as hostilities were over.”
SIGAR also reported that the failure of the Afghan border police to secure Afghanistan’s borders harmed the “counterinsurgency effort."