Paramilitarization and Security Sector Reform: The Afghan National Police

Paramilitarization and Security Sector Reform: The Afghan National Police

An accelerating trend to establish paramilitarized security forces has been occurring in peace operations to help fill security gaps. But the practice is problematic from a security sector reform(SSR) point of view, because SSR aims at distinguishing between the military and the police and at promoting civilian policing. This article shows that while the SSR concept leaves room for paramilitarization, it demands much caution. The paramilitarization of regular police forces is incompatible with even a flexible interpretation of SSR principles. The US-driven paramilitarization of the Afghan National Police (ANP), reflecting a search for quick fixes, is a dramatic case in point.

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