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Afghan War News > Afghan National Police

History of Afghan National Police (ANP).
The Afghan National Police (ANP) evolved out of efforts in the early 2000s to form up Afghan security forces.

Recruitment of ANP.  Members of the Afghan National Police are recruited by Provincial Recruiting Officers (PRO). The selected recruits sign a contract and then undergo an eight-week training program.

Training of ANP.  The initial training of members of the ANP was about six weeks until October 2011 when it was extended to eight weeks. 2. The National Police Training Center is located in southern Wardak Province along Route 1. French police and Army advisors and contract police and law enforcement personnel (DynCorp) provide training and program of instruction oversight. The NPTC is newly built and provides training for recruits across the country. 1.

ANP Recruit Train and Assign Graphic
Figure 1. Graphic source from NTM-A 5.

Regional Training Centers for ANP. There are also regional training centers for the Afghan National Police. These are usually located near Police Zone HQs or major coalition installations.

Equipment of ANP. The ANP are not as rebustly equipped as the ANA. Yet their mission requires paramilitary activities that expose them to great danger.  More Afghan police are killed each year than Army Soldiers.

Logistics. The ANP have a huge problem with getting supplies and logistics. Their supply system is broke; following the Soviet "push" method instead of the U.S. "pull" method. In addition, the Afghan police is plagued with corrupt leaders and officers.

Shortage of Fuel. One example of an ANP logistics problem is the constant shortage of fuel despite millions of dollars provided to the MoI for fuel. The fuel is diverted by corrupt Afghan police to the private sector and the proceeds go into police officers pockets. The U.S. has failed to put adequate controls and accounting procedures in place to ensure the money is spent on fuel and the fuel is not diverted away from police use. 7.

Literacy Training for ANP.  Many of the ANP recruits, because of the rural and remote nature of their geographical location, do not know how to read or write. The illiteracy rate is at 70%. 6. Where feasible literacy training is being introduced through the ANSF Literacy Program.  Not being able to read or write poses problems for the police force as there is a requirement to write reports, conduct interviews, and read documents. Many new recruits in the ANP enter literacy training classes that bring them to the 3rd grade level of proficiency. 3.

Ghost Workers. The Afghan National Police has been a corrupt force from the very beginning of its formation to the present time (April 2014). One consistent problem is the diversion of international funds to pay the salaries of policemen on the rolls who either do not show up for work or who do not exist. These absent policemen are called 'ghost workers'. 9.

Acceptance of the ANP. The Afghan population is less accepting of the Afghan National Police than they are of the Afghan National Army because of the corrupt nature and the ineffectiveness of the force. In the rural areas many of the Afghan police do not police or patrol their communities.  Much of their time is spent in the protective enclave of the district center or on checkpoints along major routes so they can extort 'fees or taxes' for using the road. NTM-A would tell you that the Afghan public has a high regard for the ANP but one has to wonder about that position. 4.

Organizations within the Afghan National Police. There are many components of the ANP to include the Afghan Uniform Police (AUP), the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP), the Afghan Border Police (ABP), Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), and the Afghan Local Police (ALP). Other lesser known ANP organizations are the Fire and Disaster Police (FDP) and Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA).

National Police Command Center (NPCC). The NPCC is located in Kabul and tracks police operations nationwide. (See photo of the NPCC here).

Focused District Development Program (FDD). In 2007 the United States introduced the FDD program for the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP). In this program complete units at the district level were sent to a regional training center for up to eight weeks of police training. While the district police were away training a unit of the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) would maintain security in the district.

Training Orientation of Western Nations. There were many different approaches to police training in Afghanistan. Germany and later most European nations adopted a 'community policing' approach while some countries (United States) adopted a counterinsurgency model for police training (as in the FDD described above).

Community Policing. There are several programs to enhance community policing or Police-e-Mardumi, within the ANP. One of these programs is the Afghan Democratic Policing Project or ADPP.

Forensics. The crime-solving capabilities of the Afghan police are hindered with a lack of training and equipment. While efforts to grow the forensics capability exist; it is probably too little too late. 8.

EvBO and Warrant Based Targeting. An essential part of police operations in a counterinsurgency environment is establishing Rule of Law (RoL) and instituting Evidence Based Operations and Warrant Based Targeting. This ensures the legitimacy of the police force and government institutions - thereby diminishing popular support for the insurgents.

German Police Project Team (GPPT). The GPPT has been involved in training up the Afghan National Police in northern Afghanstan for a number of years. Learn more about the German Police Project Team.

Police Training and Advisor References

Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) Advisor Guide, Version 1.0, May 2011, NTM-A.  This advisor guide provides information to the police advisor on the MoI mission and organization, ministerial roles and responsibilities, anti-corruption, lessons learned, national police plan, and other tips and hints for the police advisor. Accessed on Nov 2, 2012 here on the NTM-A website.

International Police Coordination Board of Afghanistan (IPCB). The IPCB acts as the main coordination board for institutional and police reform in the wider context of rule of law within the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The board directs, prioritizes and coordinates the international effort in institutional and police reform.

Rosenau, William. Acknowledging Limits: Police Advisors and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, Marine Corps University Press and CNA Corporation, 2011.

DA, Police Operations, ATP 3-39.10, January 2015.

Publications and Reports on the
Afghan National Police (ANP) and Related Topics
(listed in chronological order)

Daulatzai, Anila. Not Their War to Fight: The Afghan Police, Families of their Dead, and an American War, Harvard Universtiy, May 28, 2015. . . ./Daulatzai_05.28.15.pdf

DoDIG, Assessment of U.S. and Coalition Efforts to Develop the Logistics and Maintenance Sustainment Capability of the Afghan National Police, Inspector General U.S. Department of Defense, January 30, 2015.

PKSOI. Social Capital, Policing, and the Rule-of-Law: Keys to Stabilization, U.S. Army Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA, July 2013. An anthology of US Army War College papers (thesis) on policing and stabilization.

Transitioning to Afghan-Led Counterinsurgency.  By Seth G. Jones, Rand Corporation, May 10, 2011. Testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"No Time to Lose - Promoting the Accountability of the Afghan National Security Forces".  Oxfam, May 10, 2011.

Friesendorf, Cornelius. "Paramilitarization and Security Sector Reform: The Aghan National Police", International Peacekeeping, 18, no. 1 (211): 79-95.

MacWatters, Colonel Kevin S., Home Guard, Police, and the Social Contract, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, March 15, 2011. This paper highlights the importance of establishing security through indigenous security forces.

Caldwell, LTG William and Captain Nathan K. Finney. "Building Police Capacity in Afghanistan: The Challenges of a Multilateral Approach", Prism 2, No. 1, December 2010, pages 121-130.

A Comprehensive Approach to Local Engagement in Afghanistan. By Eric Furey, Small Wars Journal, Oct 2010. ()

"Community Defense in Afghanistan". By Seth G. Jones, Joint Forces Quarterly - NDU, 2nd Quarter 2010. (Adobe Acrobat )

Afghanistan's Local War: Building Local Defense Forces. By Seth Jones & Arturo Munoz, RAND Corp, 2010. (Adobe Acrobat )

Byrd, Colonel Robert K., Foreign Police Development: The Third Time's the Charm, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, February 2, 2010. The author states that "One of the most important aspects of governmental development or reform in a counterinsurgency (COIN) environment is the growth and sustainment of the police force charged with maintaining law and order". However, he points out some significant mistakes made in this regard in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Krall, LTC David M., Providing Security: The Strategic Importance of Policing, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, March 19, 2010. The author examines the importance of police in Kosovo, Bosnia, and East Timor.

Stabilization from the Bottom Up.  Seth G. Jones, Rand Corporation, February 2010.  Testimony presented before the Commission on Wartime Contracting.

Keller, Dennis. E. U.S. Military Forces and Police Assistance in Stability Operations: The Least-Worst Option to Fill the U.S. Capacity Gap, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 2010.

Musa, John Morgan and Matt Keegan. Policing and COIN Operations: Lessons Learned, Strategies, and Future Directions, National Defense University, Washington, D.C., 2010.

Reforming the Afghan National Police. Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), 2009. Paper covers topics such as failings of the ANP, the reform effort, technical capacity building, and ANP institution.  Accessed here on the Foreign Policy Research Institute website on Nov 2, 2012.

Robert M. Perito. Afghanistan's Police: The Weak Link in Security Sector Reform.  Special Report 227, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), August 2009.  Accessed here on the website.

"Community-based Security and Justice: Arbakai in Afghanistan". IDS Bulletin Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 20-27, March 2009.

"Police-Building in Afghanistan: A Case Study of Civil Security Reform", International Peacekeeping, 14.1, 108-126, by Tonita Murray.  Accessed here on the website.

The Emergence of Rule-Based Security Forces: Lessons from Early Modern State-Building Applied to the Afghan Local Police.  by Kimberly Marten, Social Science Research Network.

Wither, James K. "Challenges of Developing Host Nation Police Capacity", Prism,  Volume 3, No. 4, September 2012, pages 38-53. Posted on Homeland Security Digital Library.

Murray, Tonita. "Police-Building in Afghanistan: A Case Study of Civil Security Reform", International Peacekeeping 14, no. 1, 2007: pages 108-126.

Websites with Information about the Afghan National Police (ANP)

Afghan National Police by WikipediA.  Access here.

Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoI).  Access here.

Videos about the ANP

April 24, 2015. "Afghan Crime Scene Training". DVIDS. A short (2 mins) video on crime scene training provided to Afghan law enforcement professionals at the Parwan Justice Center.

March 10, 2014. "Keeping the ANP's Motors Running". Video by the Pentagon Channel posted on YouTube. Gail McCabe reports. Short 3 min video on vehicle maintenance in the Afghan National Police organization.

News Articles About the Afghan National Police (ANP)

May 8, 2015. "Are Afghanistan's Police Safe?" By Jack Detsch, The Diplomat. The killing of 18 officers in northeastern Afghanistan (Badakhshan province) once again calls into question the safety of Afghan policemen.

February 9, 2015. "Afghan Cops Have a Ferguson Problem". Sunny in Kabul. Fighting a war makes for lousy police.

February 8, 2015. "Police Force in Afghanistan Is Studied for Ties to Taliban". The New York Times. An investigation by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is ongoing in Kunduz province.

December 28, 2014. "Head of Afghan police training says high casualties are deadly cost of doing army's job". Fox News. The outgoing head of EUPOL says the ANA needs to do more to assist the ANP in the counterinsurgency effort.

January 13, 2014. "Here's what it means to be Afghanistan's most honest man: Low pay and no promotion". The Washington Post.

October 17, 2013. "Doubts Fall on Afghan Police as Kidnappers Exact Dire Price". The New York Times. The police are a big part of the problem; not the solution.

October 11, 2013. "Afghan National Police Headquarters opens in Kabul's Urban District 15". DVIDS. Open the past several years the U.S. has provided millions and millions of dollars to build district centers throughout Afghansitan.

September 2, 2013. "Afghan police deaths double as foreign troops withdraw". Reuters.

September 2, 2013. "Now Zad District handed over to Afghan Uniformed Police". DVIDS. A Marine Corps Police Advisor Team (PAT) steps back as AUP gets better.

May 12, 2013. "Training the trainer: ANCOP policemen take steps to teach their own". DVIDS. Afghan trainer reflects on Explosive Hazard Reduction Course (EHRC).

February 24, 2013. "Police mentors share their thoughts of Afghanistan deployment". DVIDS. Police Advisory Team (PAT) worried about the insider threat during training.

February 17, 2013. "In Kabul's 'Car Guantanamo', Autos Languish and Trust Dies". The New York Times. This news article explores a small part of how the police and government functions and how governance at large in Afghanistan is failing.

February 10, 2013. "UN in Afghanistan works to build capacity of women police and access to justice for women, children". News article provides info on the Afghan Democratic Policing Project (ADPP) being implemented by the UN Office for Project Services.

December 28, 2012. "Failure Threatens Afghan Police Training Mission". Spiegel Online International. An unfavorable report of the German police training effort in northern Afghanistan.

December 25, 2012. "Afghan police enhance district-level logistics in Uruzgan". DVIDS. SFAT from Texas Army National Guard advises AUP.

December 3, 2012. "Afghan army, police suffer increasing casulaties as local forces assume growing burden in war". The Washington Post.

November 21, 2012. "Police Advisory Team watches Afghan police take control in Nawa". DVIDS. Article on Nawa OCC-D.

November 20, 2012. "National Logistics Center - Wardak tranisitions to Afghan National Police control". DVIDS.

October 20, 2012. "Afghan security force's rapid expansion comes at a cost as readiness lags". The Washington Post.

October 19, 2012. "Afghanistan Police School Tries to Fix Struggling Force". The Huffington Post.

August 17, 2011.  "Afghan National Policemen in Gizab begin instructor training", DVIDS.  ANP to instruct at ALP Academy.

December 21, 2010.  "Mercs Win Billion Dollar Afghan Cop Deal. Again." Danger Room




1. For more info about the NPTC see "ANP born and bred at Wardak", NTM-A, July 12, 2011 at this link.

2. See "Extending Basic Patrolmen Training", NTM-A, October 4, 2011 at this link.

3. See "Security and Literacy: Improving and Intertwined in Afghanistan", NTM-A, Octobere 29, 2011 at this link.

4. See "Confidence in Afghan National Police Among Afghans Grows", NTM-A, March 1, 2012 at this link.

5. Graphic from "Building Police Capacity in Afghanistan: The Challenges of a Multilateral Approach", by William B. Caldwell and Nathan K. Finney, Prism 2, No. 1, page 121 accessed here on the NTM-A website.

6. The 70% illiteracy rate of the Afghan police comes from a statement made by BG Sonny Hurtado (NTM-A) in August 2013. See news story here.

7. For more stolen fuel by corrupt Afghan police see Afghan National Police Fuel Program: Concerted Efforts Needed to Strengthen Oversight of U.S. Funds, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR Audit 14-3-AR, Oct 2013.

8. Read more on the Afghan police forensics capability (Criminal Techniques Department or CTD) in "CSI Afghanistan: Solving murders in the country's first and only forensics unit", Mail Online (UK), October 9, 2013 - article accessed here 10 Oct 13.

9. For more on ghost workers within the Afghan National Polce see "Watchdog: US may be paying salaries of 'ghost' Afghan policemen", Stars and Stripes, March 19, 2014 accessed here.


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