by DAVID AXE
U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan have established an experimental security force drawn from local Afghan fighters, in a bid to better provide the street-level security that has proved instrumental to defeating entrenched insurgencies. Despite tens of thousands of incoming American reinforcements, most Afghan districts still do not have a permanent troop presence to defend against Taliban incursions. The new Afghan Public Protection Force “enables respected young men of local communities to become public protectors,” said U.S. Army training officer Capt. Marco Lyons.
But the force, currently operating only in Wardak province, just south of the capital of Kabul, risks repeating the mistakes of an earlier experiment in drawing Afghan militias into the U.S.-NATO war effort.
On April 1, the first 100 members of the Wardak protection force, pictured, which U.S. troops have dubbed “AP3,” graduated from classes run by the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. “AP3 officers are instructed on several topics, including integrity, ethics, use of force, discipline and the constitutional and police law of Afghanistan,” the Army reported.
The force, which will eventually number around 300 officers, “decreases the probability that insurgents will intimidate local villagers,” said Army trainer 1st Lt. Tyler Kurth.