Posted by: hobbesonafob | June 5, 2009

The Afghan Public Protection Force

This report by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson from the National Public Radio describes the Afghan Public Protection Force project in Wardak province (see here for a gallery).

Its purpose:

The idea is to get local Afghans to take charge of securing their villages against militants who find safe haven in the isolated, mountainous region that Afghan and U.S. soldiers have been unable to control.

The general plan:

Several hundred Guardians, who received three weeks of training and were issued AK-47s, have started patrolling their home villages in districts around the provincial capital of Maidan Shahr. Each receives the equivalent of $100 a month plus $24 for food. They patrol in white Ford Ranger pickups.

As an outsider it is difficult to judge what the implications are of this. Personally, I think the end result will be the creation of another group that will be able to engage in coercion — essentially another CCNA. This coercion may provide a point of contention for the Afghan government in the future, although that’s assuming the government plays a role in the area or would even want to have a presence in the area. Ultimately, I think the success of this program depends on the goals that ISAF has.

If anyone has heard of any other reports on this program, I would love to get a hold of them.

Here are a couple other blogs that posted on the problems of using a “Sons of Iraq” template for COIN in Afghanistan:


Here’s a fun thought experiment. Read John Robb’s write up on “USA Inc.” and debate whether or not the government would use a Sons of Iraq-esque strategy for domestic security in North America. I imagine one of the appealing factors of arming populaces is that its start-up costs are lower than employing security professionals. The externalities on the other hand….


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