Afghan Police Have Western Training and Facilities, But Wonder How to Maintain Them by J.P. Lawrence – Stars & Stripes
HERAT, Afghanistan — The police officers shook their heads while looking at the new three-story dorm for female trainees here, built with a Western largesse that left them baffled.
The two men peeked into various rooms, marveling at treadmills still wrapped in plastic, and banks of electric clothes washers and dryers. An array of dozens of air conditioning units are likely to become a chore to keep running in a province with 17 districts, hundreds of villages and nearly 2 million residents, but just two qualified air conditioning repairmen.
The police officers asked each other who was going to pay to keep the lights on. Whether or not they knew it, the expectation is that it will be foreign donors, particularly the U.S., who are building the facilities as well as the electrical grid to power many of them.
The challenges in sustaining the country’s police force, underscore some of Afghanistan’s deep dependencies on its foreign backers. Some analysts say it could take decades before the country’s defense and security forces can operate without substantial support from abroad.
While the U.S. hopes to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign cash, the Kabul government already struggles with tasks large and small, from keeping equipment humming to holding ground against a resurgent Taliban who control or contest half the country…