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EU police mission in Afghanistan 'flawed', UK report warns

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 16, IRNA -- The EU’s Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) was flawed and risks failing in an area where the EU should be showing leadership, a cross-bench parliamentary committee warned Wednesday.

The House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development found that the Afghan National Police force was in a dire state due to high attrition and illiteracy rates, and corruption.

The mission should pay greater attention to the most basic of policing skills, not least reading and writing, if it was to succeed, it warned.

We have huge concerns about this mission. It is failing in its stated purpose of building up a civilian policing capability,” said committee chair Lord Teverson(pictured).

“What the Afghan people need is a police force that can relate to their lives, that can investigate crimes and bring cases to court,” Teverson said.

'There is no formal agreement between the EU and NATO in Afghanistan which we find utterly unacceptable,” he also warned.

The Committee report pointed out that that the EU is undertaking a vital task in Afghanistan, but it must address the reasons why the mission is failing before it is too late.

Some of the problems included that there were too few staff with even the small target of 400 people never being met that demonstrates lack of EY commitment and meaning that the mission cannot cover many important parts of the country.

Insufficient attention was also said to have paid to the Afghan judiciary with problems of capacity and corruption levels, which risk making police reform unproductive and seriously limiting prosecution levels.

The committee also voiced concern that the timetable for building up Afghanistan’s ability to police itself does “not coincide with the departure of foreign combat troops.”

Teverson, a Liberal Democrat peer and former member of the European Parliament, urged the UK government to put “renewed political effort” into addressing the reasons why EUPOL was failing, saying the only people who benefit were the Taliban.

In response, Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt welcomed the report highlighting a number of issues and said the UK will continue to work hard with international colleagues to produce the police force the Afghan people deserve.

“Improving the Afghan police is fundamental to the success of the international coalition’s mission and EUPOL plays a central role in that work,” Burt said.

“I have seen the progress EUPOL is making firsthand on my recent visit, and have pressed the issue of building on that progress in my recent discussion with (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Baroness Ashton,” he said.

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