Few things about the Afghan War have been more politically palatable for NATO officials than pushing for an increase in the size of the Afghan security forces. Attrition, low pay, and large numbers of casualties, however, have meant that effort now has NATO looking for 141,000 new recruits in the next year alone.
And while some of those recruits will come for the illiterate, unemployed masses of the war torn nation, a growing number, according to former UN Office on Drugs and Crime chief Dr. Antonio Costa, is coming from the insurgency, and not in the good way like you’d hope.
It isn’t a “reintegration” effort, of course, but rather Taliban factions setting up their own sleeper cells across the military and police forces. According to Dr. Costa, a number of suicide attacks have been carried out by people inside the security forces, because they can get easily into secure positions.
It is a problem with no easy solution. With recruiters desperate and not offering much (a low paying job with a high chance of death or serious injury) they can’t exactly afford to be very selective. But at the same time, as the security forces do grow the question of their loyalty is increasingly in doubt, with crooked recruits hoping to extort bribes suddenly being the least of the problem.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
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