The Pentagon and the Afghan government, in a move intended to increase the size of Afghan security forces without spending too much money, are poised to approve a new irregular combat force, with estimates it could number in excess of 20,000 fighters.
Both groups have dispatched delegations to India to examine the structure of the Indian Territorial Army, an irregular force created for deployment in certain areas where the regular military’s presence would be unpopular.
Afghans are unlikely to welcome this idea, however, because the US already tried this once with the establishment of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), a militia force made up of US-funded warlords given police powers and little to no oversight. Unsurprisingly, this quickly became a flurry of extortion rackets and other widespread abuse.
Human Rights Watch was quick to criticize the proposal, noting that the irregular forces have proven hard to control in the best of circumstances, and saying the Afghan government needs to worry more about increasing oversight on the troops they already have.