In a 102-page report, Human Rights Watch accuses the U.S.-supported Afghan local police of committing serious human rights violations. Neither the U.S. nor the Afghan governments, however, are doing enough to make sure the ALP and other armed groups are upholding the rule of law, the group said.
"Kabul and Washington need to make a clean break from supporting abusive and destabilizing militias to have any hope of a viable, long-term security strategy," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
Abuses tied to the ALP range from arbitrary detentions and rape to forced land acquisitions. The units are vetted by local village councils and given only 21 days of training before deployment.
U.S. and Afghan officials told Human Rights Watch the police force had led to security improvements though some residents claimed ALP members were given a free pass when accused of abuses.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, now director of the CIA, told U.S. lawmakers in March the ALP was the "most critical" element to plans to get international forces out of Afghanistan.
"Pressure to reduce international troop levels should not be at the expense of the rights of Afghans," Adams said.
Kabul wants to take the lead in national security operations by 2014. The Taliban took responsibility, meanwhile, for an attack in eastern Afghanistan that killed five Afghans and wounded nearly 80 troops Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks on the United States.