Many observers of the war in Afghanistan are taking a hard look at the Afghan Local Police (ALP) effort of the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior that is supported by ISAF. Unfortunately, the conclusions they draw are off the mark - see "ISAF's Plans for Afghan Local Police Are Shortsighted", Trevor Keck, Foreign Policy Association, December 23, 2011. Critics too easily attach the label "local militia force" to the ALP. These same critics fail to recognize that the ALP is an Afghan security force selected from members of the local community and vetted at the district, provincial, and national level by authorities in the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI). The ALP members are equipped, trained, supervised, and paid by the Ministry of Interior. This differentiates the ALP from local militias organized and paid by regional warlords.
There are problems associated with the ALP - but if you look hard enough you will find problems with every aspect of the Afghan military, police, and government. ISAF has prepared a response to criticism of the ALP program by a recent Human Rights Watch report that can be read here. Not understood by critics is the strategic significance of gaining the support of the people at the local level through the introduction of security, governance and development. The ALP helps establish security at the local level thus aiding governance and development. It truly is a key to transition in Afghanistan. Learn more about the Afghan Local Police.