Elite Afghan Police Begin First Missions While Regular Forces Remain Undermanned by J.P. Lawrence - Stars & Stripes
Afghan members of an elite police special forces unit in Herat gather for a drill prior to a raid to nab a Taliban leader Oct. 28, 2018. Stars & Stripes photo by J.P. Lawrence.
Masked, armed and in full combat kit, the Afghan paramilitary policemen raced to a line of idling Humvees at their outpost near Afghanistan’s western border with Iran.
After scrambling into their gun turrets and checking their gear, the policemen rumbled off as part of preparations to arrest a Taliban commander.
The men were part of Herat’s new National Mission Unit, a police force intended for combat missions and advised by NATO instructors. Afghanistan hopes to double the number of crack units such as this one in Herat, a city of about 400,000 and the country’s third-largest.
Some analysts warn, however, that emphasizing development of elite Afghan units to the detriment of common soldiers and police officers may repeat mistakes made by Western forces throughout the war.
Afghanistan currently has three NMUs taking on high-risk missions, such as arresting terrorists and responding to attacks.
Paramilitary police organizations are characterized by military discipline and tasked with missions that conventional police aren’t trained to handle – and as a result suffer higher casualties, according to a recent Pentagon report…