Failures of Police Assistance Mission Led by the US in Afghanistan


The detailed report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on the “Lessons Learned” pinpoints and analyzes in depth the failures and the causes of failures of the US in Afghanistan. The report dissects the problems and the consequent inability of the US and the allies to build an independent Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF). In addition to this, the report also brings to light the incompetence of the Police Assistance Mission to deliver and to raise an Afghan National Police (ANP) capable of delivering the policing functions and maintaining law and order.

The report finds the militarization of the police force as the major and the central problem which defied and derailed the ANP from cracking down on criminal activities and protecting civilians. As a result of the militarization, ANP’s role started to overlap with that of the security forces and police personnel actively took part in counter-insurgency adopting a fighter’s posture instead of a police man. This also furthered a brutal image of this police force. The same report also blames the historical factors for the failure of the ANP, highlighting that the country never had an “effective nationwide police force.”

As for the Police Assistance Mission, the police advisors remained in a state of confusion and dilemma: “whether to partner with corrupt and abusive yet military effective police officials supported by key portions of local population or refuse and risk rising instability, loss of support for U.S. intervention, and reduction of U.S. ability to target and disrupt terrorist cells.” Owing to these ground realities, despite making an investment of 20 years’ time and 21 Billion Dollars, the US could not build an Afghan National Police that could survive after the withdrawal of the US.


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