Afghan Biographies

Afghan Local Police ALP

Name Afghan Local Police ALP
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Background and Assessment
History and Biodata

The Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai government has known since at least July 2019 that ALP funding would be ending on 30 September 2020 and that it would have to disband the force. The United States, which set up the roughly 18,000-strong force, is still its only international funder. This meant that when the US Congress decided to stop funding, disbanding of the ALP became inevitable. Plans for this disbandment were only finalised in early summer 2020 and are only now being implemented.  The plan is for one third of ALP to be disarmed and retired, one third to be transferred to the Afghan National Police (ANP) and one third to the Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANA-TF). The Ministries of Interior and Defence now have three months to sort, transfer and re-train, or disarm and retire about 18,000 armed men present in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, in the middle of a war and a still-lingering pandemic. The deadline for completing the dissolution of the ALP, including the retirement or transfer of its members, is the end of December 2020. (20201006)

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) Initiative was endorsed by Karzai in July 2010 after negotiations with Petraeus. The final implementation plan was approved by Karzai in mid-August 2010. The Afghan Local Police (ALP) was also a pattern in the auxiliary police programme of 2006-2008 (which has been given up, because it created too many problems). The Afghan Local Police force would be uniformed, paid, armed, and report to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) through local district headquarters. The MOI would provide vehicles, radios, and light weapons. It would, in most cases - at least initially - be advised and trained by USSF detachments living and working in the villages or communities. Unlike the Afghan National Police (ANP) they will not have the ability to arrest people and their pay will be less than the ANP. The local police will be vetted by local village elders and be representative of the local population.

More Background:
ALP being set up by US Special Forces, the MoI and the NDS as well as freelance groups who call themselves ALP and then, post facto, seek official approval. Even if the ALP are good at fighting Taleban, there are already accusations of looting, forced taxation (of ushr) and worsened security since the groups were set up. The fact that groups are prepared to set themselves up before getting salaries demonstrates now nicely ALP is being adapted by pre-existing armed groups to get legal cover.

The programs came about due to frustration with the slow progress of the Afghan Security Forces at the national level (Afghan National Army - ANA and Afghan National Police - ANP), logistical problems within the Ministry of Defense, corruption of national, provincial, and district leaders, bureaucratic infighting, and the changing strategy of counterinsurgency over the past few years. These programs hope to leverage the concept of arbakai - which is a tribal based community policing system - that is found in areas of Afghanistan.

These programs include the Afghanistan National Auxiliary Police (ANAP), Community Outreach, Afghan Public Protection Program (AP3), Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), Community Defense Initiative (CDI), Local Defense Initiative (LDI), Village Stability Platform, Village Stability Operations (VSO), Afghan Local Police (ALP) Initiative, and others. Some programs are no longer in effect (I.e. Community Defense Initiative or CDI) due to politics within the United States military and diplomatic community, opposition of some entities of the Afghan government, lack of funding, divergent views on the use of 'militias', or because the programs simply did not work well.

While some of these programs have been described as "bottom-up" - such as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) - the fact remains that the central government has to approve the program. Funding is funneled through a corrupt Ministry of Interior through the province and district headquarters (if there is a district). As with all programs, every level skims money, supplies and equipment off the top.

The provincial level officials and Afghan National Police (ANP) try to exert their influence in the decisions about funding, selection of ALP members, and locations to stand up ALP elements. Another troubling aspect that hinders effective governance at the provincial and district level is how the leaders are selected. The provincial and district leaders are not elected by the local population - but are selected by Kabul. Karzai picks who he wants to be provincial governors - many times the post going to the highest bidder, a family member, or political ally. In turn, the provincial governor gets to appoint his own sub-governor (district leader). This contributes to an ineffective and corrupt provincial and district leadership.

Last Modified 2020-10-06
Established 2011-02-07