KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A plan to pay local Afghans to take up arms against the Taliban risks undermining a U.N.-backed effort at disarmament, a leading politician claims.
International donors are funding a measure to arm around 10,000 men to fight Taliban in their villages.
Zamary Bashari, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, described the unit as a local police force.
"It's not a militia force," he told the U.N.'s humanitarian news agency IRIN. "It's a community police (force) which will defend its homes and villages from the enemy."
U.S. war planners in Iraq used a similar model called Sons of Iraq during the counterinsurgency strategy known as the surge with modest success. But Mir Ahmad Joyenda a member of the Afghan parliament, said he is worried that the police force could operate unchecked.
"These forces will have carte blanche to kill," he said. "They can kill and harm anyone on mere charges of insurgency."
The government maintains the unit will operate under the authority of the Afghan National Police. Critics worry, however, that corruption will plague the effort and undermine a U.N.-backed disarmament campaign.
Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister who ran for president in 2009, said handing weapons to area villagers was as step backward for Afghanistan.
"Redistributing weapons in insecure areas will only exacerbate the situation," he warned.