While much attention has focused on the Afghan National Army ‘s ability to secure the country after the withdrawal of NATO combat forces in 2014, the equally-important role of the police is frequently overlooked.

Future
Pictured left to right, Michelle Hughes, Shawn Stith, Ambassador Catherine Royle, and Robert Perito

Huge investments by the international community to create the Afghan National Police (ANP) have had mixed results. Disagreements over what the police force should look like have led to the simultaneous development of multiple models. Now Afghanistan will need to take the lead in resolving this enduring dilemma and creating a professional law enforcement agency suitable for a democratic society. Planning for this transition is underway, but the challenge of transforming the interior ministry, which supervises the police, and the 157,000-member force is formidable. Among the most pressing issues is the future of the Afghan Local Police, a controversial, U.S.-trained local village defense force that does not have police powers, but reports to the interior ministry.

Recently, USIP has published two new reports – Counterinsurgency, Local Militias, and Statebuilding in Afghanistan and The Afghan National Police in 2015 and Beyond - that address the issue of planning for police transition and the future of the Afghan Police. On May 27, U.S. Institute of Peace held a public discussion with experts on the future of policing in Afghanistan. A panel of distinguished experts discussed the history of how the international community has tried to build the ANP and the future of policing in Afghanistan.

Speakers

Ali Jalali, Opening Remarks
Former Minister of the Interior of Afghanistan
Distinguished Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies

Ambassador Catherine Royle
Former Head, International Police Coordination Board Secretariat
Former Deputy Ambassador, UK Embassy, Kabul

Aziz Hakimi
Co-Author, Counterinsurgency, Local Militias, and Statebuilding in Afghanistan
PhD Candidate, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Michelle Hughes
Author, The Afghan National Police in 2015 and Beyond
Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of VALRAC Innovation, LLC

Dr. Jonathan Goodhand
Co-Author, Counterinsurgency, Local Militias, and Statebuilding in Afghanistan
Professor, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Shawn Stith
Former Director, International Security Assistance Force Ministry of Interior Ministerial Advisory Group

Related Publications

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By: Scott Worden

The Taliban’s tactic of running out the clock on the U.S. troop presence may bear fruit after the announcement on Tuesday that U.S. forces will reduce to 2,500 by January 15. The Trump administration successfully created leverage by engaging directly with the Taliban to meet their paramount goal of a U.S. withdrawal in exchange for genuine peace talks and counterterrorism guarantees. This strategy brought about unprecedented negotiations between Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in Doha. A walk down a conditions-based path to peace, long and winding as it may be, had begun.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Constitutional Issues in the Afghan Peace Negotiations: Process and Substance

Constitutional Issues in the Afghan Peace Negotiations: Process and Substance

Friday, November 13, 2020

By: Barnett R. Rubin

The peace negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban that began in September in Doha, Qatar, will almost certainly include revisiting the country’s constitution. Both sides claim to abide by Islamic law, but they interpret it in very different ways. This report examines some of the constitutional issues that divide the two sides, placing them within the context of decades of turmoil in Afghanistan and suggesting ideas for how the peace process might begin to resolve them.

Type: Special Report

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Pathways for Post-Peace Development in Afghanistan

Pathways for Post-Peace Development in Afghanistan

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

By: Khyber Farahi; Scott Guggenheim

Even if the warring parties in Afghanistan manage to secure a still-elusive agreement on resolving the current conflict, significant economic challenges remain for the country, which will require continued assistance and support for core government functions. This report, based on an examination of Afghanistan’s recent development performance, provides a framework for how the Afghan government and its donor partners can more effectively deliver equitable development going forward.

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Matthew Parkes

More than a month after Afghan peace talks formally began, the effort to end the war in Afghanistan is stalled, and no one faces higher stakes than Afghan women. The attempt at negotiations has snagged on preliminary issues, the Taliban have escalated their attacks, and all sides are watching the evolution of the U.S. military role in the country. Afghan women’s rights advocates say the moment, and the need for international support, is critical. U.S. officials have noted how U.S assistance can be vital in supporting women’s rights, a principle that can be advanced at a global donors’ conference next month.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes

View All Publications