In 2010, former President Hamid Karzai collaborated with international partners to create a local police force to secure and protect people in rural villages and districts.
Today, this idea has grown into the Afghan Local Police (ALP), local villagers armed and trained in police tactics by the Afghan government. They now secure their homes against the violent and indiscriminate acts that insurgents impose on innocent Muslims. In Kandahar province, the ALP started in Panjwai district, because insurgents prevented villagers from farming or earning money to feed their families. However, in just two years since the establishment of ALP in Panjwai, solid security gains have taken root in the district. Across the country, similar security gains were achieved and the Islamic Government decided to expand the program.
The history of security in Kandahar represents one of the toughest challenges for the ANSF. Insurgents often abused the local population, seized control of their homes to hide and conduct attacks and prevented development projects from bettering the lives of its residents. Once the government began training and arming local residents as part of the ALP program, village by village, the insurgents found no safe haven thanks to brave ALP protecting their homes. The ALP is so effective because they are local villagers protecting their friends and family, which in turn, greatly enhanced the peoples’ cooperation with the ANSF.
A recent ALP Jirga in Kandahar brought together many ANSF commanders including: a Major General of the Afghan Local Police, the Kandahar Chief of Police district governors and districts police chiefs. They listened to the current challenges faced in performance of public security duties and discused how to ensure the ALP get all the help they need.
Major General Ali Shah Ahmadzai of the ALP visited Kandahar to both commend the honor and bravery which the ALP demonstrate in their communities, but also to see how he could address their concerns and requirements to more effectively crush insurgents. MG Ahmadzai told Sada-e-Azadi ALP Jirga’s are an important part of continuously improving the ANSF and ALP in their mission to protect our people as well as explain their mission to the community.
Haji Gholam Rasul, a Panjwai district resident, praised the ALP and the support of government for creating the ALP. “We are safer than ever before thanks to the ALP. I ask the government to deploy more ALP because they are from our districts and we will cooperate with them against outsiders. We promise to support these heroes and hope the government continues to do the same for them.”
According to the Kandahar Police Chief and Kandahari people living in the districts, the ALP has turned the tide against the insurgents. With continued training, good equipment and an honest salary, the ALP will continue to keep districts free of insurgents and maintain trust and cooperation with the people as their first line of defense.