Cautious optimism for Afghan police

April 8, 2011 at 10:37 AM
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LONDON, April 8 (UPI) -- A capable Afghan police force is vital to ensuring the country's stability but policymakers need to be realistic about achievements, a British official said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last year said he wanted to see national forces take control over security in the country by 2014. U.S. military leaders said early this month that some of the transition could begin in July.

Karzai said the plans include the province of Panjshir and parts of the provinces of Kabul and Bamiyan, where the Taliban destroyed two sixth-century statues of Buddhas in March 2001.

Philip Robson, leader of a British rule of law team working in Afghanistan, said a "sufficiently" capable Afghan police force is needed to ensure stability in the country.

He noted that significant progress was made toward those aims with the help of coordinated international efforts but there was a long way to go on rebuilding the judicial functions of the Afghan government.

"We need to be realistic about what we want to achieve on rule of law in Afghanistan, but relentless in pursuing those objectives."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a March report on Afghanistan "process and transition" were top priorities in the country. Much of the political process, said Ban, could be ruined if political tensions in Afghanistan lead to "an entrenched political crisis."

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