Peace Research Institute Frankfurt/HSFK (PRIF)

PRIF´s work is directed towards identifying the causes of violent international and internal conflicts, carrying out research into the conditions necessary for peace, understood as a process of decreasing violence and increasing justice, and spreading the concepts of peace. Within the framework of its political consulting, research results are converted into practically orientated options for action that find their way into the public debate.

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Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung Baseler Str. 27-31
D-60329 Frankfurt am Main
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Policy and Research Papers

Militarized versus Civilian Policing: Problems of Reforming the Afghan National Police

This report studies the transition from civilian to military-dominated police-building in Afghanistan. From 2002, Germany was the lead nation responsible for coordinating international assistance for police-building. The German police programme in Afghanistan was designed as a sustainable project with a civilian approach. However, Germany only invested relatively little funds in the building and reform of the ANP. This reflected the initially rather limited involvement of the international community as a whole in Afghanistan. The United States’ Afghanistan policy relied on cooperation with the warlords as well as on the military regime in Pakistan. This policy served to strengthen the armed opposition forces. Once it became clear that the building of the ANP was not progressing quickly enough, the USA de facto assumed the lead role in police-building in Afghanistan. This meant a change of paradigm from a civilian-based
police reform to a military-based police reform. Militarization was accelerated by the US dominated change of strategy in favour of counterinsurgency in 2009.

The report refers to the problems of the dominance of military elements in building the ANP. It is not clear whether the militarization of the ANP has significantly improved the chances of survival for members of the Afghan police. What is certain is that militarization cannot solve the problem of the weak legitimacy of the Afghan state. There is still a lack of trust between the public and the police, especially as the ANP is inadequately equipped to prevent or solve crimes. Moreover, the possible long-term consequences of militarization are problematic: It is easier to militarize the police now than it will be to drive out the spirit of militarization at a later date. The militarization of the ANP is therefore at the best ineffective and at the worst counterproductive. Only a police force which the people trust can be effective.


Other Documents

The Reform of Guinea-Bissau's Security Sector: Between Demand and Practice

This report addresses the issue of security sector reform in the small West African state of Guinea-Bissau. Since gaining independence in the 1970s, Guinea-Bissau has been characterized by political instability, and numerous attempts at implementing security sector reform since 2005 have either failed or not achieved their desired results. Some measures have even had the effect of aggravating the troubled political situation in the country further. This report argues that the concept of security sector reform in its present application is untenable, and that alternative approaches must begin with broad public dialog and better incorporate varying local perspectives in order to create flexible strategies for the reform process.

Other Document