The Afghan government announced today that it has arrested 48 members of the Afghan police force over suspicion of aiding the Taliban insurgency and that 12 others eluded capture and joined the Taliban. The announcement comes just a day after a Taliban statement saying about 35 other police had defected to their side.
The problem of Afghan forces defecting to the Taliban’s side has been growing for months now, fueled by growing distrust of international forces and the danger faced by police in provinces with little military support. As momentum seems increasingly in the Taliban’s favor, the defections are likely to become a growing problem in the coming days.
With the mission to create a functioning police force in Afghanistan already floundering (German General Ammon says it will take 82 years at the current rate), the United States is looking to the creation of tribal militias as an alternative method of securing control over the war-torn nation. Though the US hopes tens of thousands of additional forces will allow it to escalate the fight against the Taliban, growing international doubts and unreliable supply lines may force it to turn to the more informal militias.