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Afghanistan: Police

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the (a) size and (b) capability of the Afghan National Police. (277635)

As of 30 April 2009 the size of the Afghan National Police (ANP) was estimated to be 81,584. The authorised strength (tashkil) of the ANP is 86,800. This includes an increase of 4,800 to bolster security in Kabul in the lead-up to the August elections. The ANP includes the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), Border Police (ABP) and Civil Order Police (ANCOP). The capability of the ANP varies across the forces and continues to suffer from major problems including low levels of literacy and high levels of corruption.

The AUP provides basic security and policing and is currently receiving US-led training under the Focused District Development Programme. ANCOP plays a niche but vital role in the counter-insurgency campaign and regularly supports the Afghan national army on operations. It also backfills the AUP during its participation in training. It is judged to be a more effective force compared with the other elements of the ANP. The Afghan Border Police needs more development although it has made some progress in policing Afghanistan's airports, following training.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) private security organisations, (b) national armed forces and other official organisations and (c) intergovernmental organisations are providing training for the Afghan National Police; how many Afghan National Police officers in each force have received such training from each such organisation; and how many British (i) military and (ii) civilian personnel work in each such organisation. (277711)

The major private security organisations providing training for the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Afghanistan are MPRI, Dyncorp and Xe. We do not have an estimate of the total number of private security companies delivering police training in Afghanistan. Nor do we have figures for British personnel in these organisations.

We are unable to provide numbers of armed forces, or civilian personnel, engaged in police training and reform from other countries. The principal country delivering police training is the US. 12 Ministry of Defence Police are delivering police training and reform at the provincial level. There are 24 British armed forces delivering ANP training at the district level, with additional force protection.

The US organisation leading on delivering police training is the Combined Security Transitional Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A). CSTC-A has agreements with Germany, France, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK. We are unable to give total figures for those delivering training to the ANP. There are three British police officers in CSTC-A engaged on police reform. Seven British military personnel are working in CSTC-A on security sector reform, including policing.

The main organisation delivering police training and reform at the strategic level is the EU Policing mission (EUPOL). At the beginning of May 2009 the EUPOL mission was 326-strong and included police experts from the EU, Canada, Croatia, New Zealand and Norway. We have no breakdown of numbers. We are funding 15 British civilians in EUPOL, but have no figures for additional British staff directly contracted by the EU. There are no UK military in EUPOL.

We do not have a figure for the number of Afghan National Police officers in each force who have received training from each organisation. The US estimated that 20,000 ANP had undergone Focused District Development (FDD) training at the end of 2008. CSTC-A is planning to train a further 34,000 ANP in 2009. On 27 April 2009, over 4,700 ANP were in training.