FORMER U.N. DIPLOMAT IN AFGHANISTAN SAYS
IT WILL TAKE 100 YEARS TO MAKE AN AFGHAN
POLICE FORCE HONEST - "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
General in Charge of Crucial Afghan Police Training Mission That has So Far Cost $7 Billion Sees Improvement, Including Higher Pay that Should Curb Corruption
The former number -two U.N. diplomat in Afghanistan says it will take "100 years" to field an honest, literate Afghan police force even though the U.S. has already spent $7 billion on the Afghan police. Peter Galbraith talks to Anderson Cooper for a story about the Afghan police force that also includes the commanding officer of the U.S. and NATO training mission, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Nov. 28 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Galbraith's opinion on the Afghan police, who were part of his diplomatic portfolio, was formed through personal experience. Near the American Embassy in Kabul one day, he was the victim of a bribery scheme. "As I passed a roundabout, my bodyguard had to pay off the police in order for us to proceed," recalls Galbraith, who was fired after protesting the fraud associated with Afghanistan's presidential elections. "If they would do that for someone in my position, just imagine what it was for ordinary Afghans.
"The police are incapable of being reformed," Galbraith tells Cooper. "We're talking about something that will take 100 years, generations," says Galbraith, "You can equip them. You can provide some training, but you can't make them honest. You can't make them literate. You can't make them committed to the notions of policing that we have in the West," he says.
But the U.S. has spent nine years and $7 billion training the Afghan Police because they are crucial to the security of the country, even more so than the Afghan Army itself, as General Caldwell suggests. When the government appointed him to turn things around he became the highest ranking officer ever assigned to the mission. Watch a clip. "The army's there to protect the nation; the police are there to protect the people," Caldwell explained. When asked how important the police are to the counterinsurgency efforts of the U.S., the general said, "Perhaps one of the most critical pieces."
"Most critical?" Cooper asked. "More than the Afghan National Army?" "Even more so than the army," Caldwell said. "And the reason why is because the police are the face of the Afghan government."
Since taking command, Caldwell has reorganized the entire training program and replaced nearly 400 private contractors, who he says lacked initiative and flexibility. Caldwell says the move has saved taxpayers $150 million. There is now a plan to teach tens of thousands of Afghan police how to read at a basic level, drug testing is mandatory, and to combat corruption, police wages have been doubled.
"We have some enormous challenges still ahead of us, but I feel very optimistic about where we're going with the future now. And I feel like we've put it on the right path. We've got the resources. We've got the leadership of our country behind us. And we can make a change here," Caldwell predicted.