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Afghan National Police (ANP)

The ANP maintain civil order, reduce corruption, and prevent the cultivation, production, and smuggling of illegal narcotics. The role of the ANP is to meet the expectations of the Afghan public regarding the security of individuals and the community and the safeguarding of legal rights and freedoms.

One of the key initiatives in the ANDSF Roadmap during 2018 involved the transfer of most of the ANCOP and elements of the ABP to control of the MoD. ANP forces remain on the front lines augmenting the ANA during the “hold” phase of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations; however, with limited or no crew-served weapons, anti-armor weapons, armored vehicles, or ISR assets, the ANP are not sufficiently trained or equipped for traditional COIN tactics. The ANP’s focus and employment in COIN military functions have hindered their development of sufficient anti-crime and other community policing capabilities. The ANP is several years behind the ANA in its development.

The ANP has made steady progress, increasing in size and capabilities. While progress was not uniform across all sections of the ANP, some units, such as the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP), are now highly effective, frequently partnering with ISAF forces in successful operations. Progress has been less rapid in other areas, such as the development of ANP logistics capabilities or the development of the Afghan Border Police.

The ANP had an authorized end strength of up to 124,626 personnel as of 2018. The ANP recruiting/recontracting strategy remains informal and ad hoc, and monthly casualty reports drive recruiting. ANP recruiters generally make trips to zones/districts where losses were greatest the previous month and where replenishment of personnel is most needed to maintain end strength. Although the ANP continues to demonstrate positive recruiting rates, reenlistment remains the primary challenge to maintaining effective strength.

As of early 2012 the approved end-strength for the ANP – the projected end-strength required to support transition to Afghan security lead – was 157,000 personnel by October 2012. As of March 2012, the overall ANP force level reached 149,642 personnel, an increase of 13,520 from the force level at the end of the previous reporting period in September 2011. This force included 25,195 officers, 39,943 NCOs, 77,653 patrolmen, and 6,851 initial entry trainees.

Recruiting in the ANP remained steady, meeting or exceeding overall growth goals each month during the reporting period. The ANP generally reflects the ethnic make-up of local communities, as personnel typically serve in the area where they join the force. However, when aggregated at the national level, Tajiks are significantly overrepresented in the force, Pashtuns are represented proprotionately to the Afghan population, but Hazara, Uzbeks, and others are underrepresented to varying degrees.

ANP patrolmen manning is currently in excess of 100 percent of the goal for both AUP and ABP, and approximately 8,333 patrolmen were manning NCO billets as of the end of March. Accordingly, recruiting has been adjusted to focus on qualified direct-entry NCOs, and recruiting goals and training seats for new patrolmen have been reduced in favor of NCO and quality training opportunities for those already in the force.

These efforts are needed to address the current NCO shortage of 8,316 and the 16,700 untrained patrolmen. During March, MoI successfully took their first steps to self govern the imbalances in the ANP. In addition to temporarily freezing recruitment, the Minister of the Interior also created a commission to address the imbalances in rank and location. Initial indications are that this self initiated Afghan commission will emphatically state that over-strength police officers and NCOs will need to meet the needs of the ANP and either accept a new position, move to a different zone, or accept a reduction in rank. Attrition in the ANP remained relatively steady during the reporting period, averaging 1.2 percent, consistent with the goal of 1.4 percent.

The ANP training effort continued to focus on developing the quality of the force, in particular, training NCOs. As of October 2011, the ANP needed approximately 20,000 more NCOs within the following year. An increased emphasis on NCO training during the reporting period added 9,003 NCOs to the ANP, reducing the shortfall to 10,997. In addition to a shortage of NCOs, the ANP also faces a significant amount of assigned but untrained patrolmen.

Between October 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, ANP training capacity increased from nearly 14,500 to 14,584. The ANP was expected to reach approximately 16,000 personnel by the end of December 2011; however, severe delays at National Police Training Center (NPTC) – Wardak impeded achievement of this goal. NTM-A continues to seek efficiencies while developing the necessary capacity to grow the size of the ANP, develop the force, and create a mature, sustainable ANP Training Management System infrastructure to support force training. Training is currently conducted at 30 formal training sites, but this total will eventually decrease to approximately 11 permanent sites in 2014. Across all police pillars and all courses, 21,907 students have graduated since the beginning of October 2011.

The establishment of the Afgan National Police Training General Command (ANPTGC) was completed in March 2011, with 859 positions approved by MoI under the tashkil for SY1390. ANPTGC requested an additional 1,000 positions under Command Plan Review for SY1391. The MoI approved a total of 1,123 ANPTGC positions. A comprehensive planning process was implemented jointly with ANPTGC headquarters to best restructure the command in order to balance ANP training objectives while remaining within the tashkil resource constraints. The result was a new series of SY1391 tashkils for all ANPTGC headquarters and training sites.

With a commander and high level staff in place by early 2012, the focus of ANPTGC shifted from generating forces to creating a permanent, capable training organization to support development of a quality force. The ANP Professional Development Board (PDB), chaired by the ANPTGC Commander, supports partnership in course instruction development and standardization across the major stakeholders including ANPTGC, NTM-A, the German Police Project Team, and the European Union Police Mission (EUPOL). The key to the ANP’s professional sustainability following the 2014 transition is an enduring and effective training management capability.

Future training objectives for the ANP include: 1) training NCOs and untrained patrolmen; 2) enabling balanced growth in the size and quality of the force; and, 3) shifting the focus of the ANP from COIN missions to a rule of law-based police force. Part of this effort includes planning for a class of 400-500 training instructors who will augment the decentralized Permanent Training Teams, Zone Training Teams, and Provincial Training Companies. These training units will provide the quality training needed to transform the ANP from a COIN-focused security force to one capable of investigating and deterring crimes. ANP’s goal is to have an additional 861 instructors trained and certified by the end of 2012.

The ANP uses a contract with Automotive Management Services (AMS) to provide maintenance for the MoI vehicle fleet and supply chain management for vehicle repair parts. The AMS contract is continuing to work well for the ANP at the national and regional levels as evidenced by operational readiness rates consistently at 90 percent or higher in 2015. AMS has ten regional maintenance centers that are performing in accordance with their contract by providing maintenance support and repair parts management. AMS also allows coalition forces to maintain visibility and accountability of the ANP ground wheeled vehicle fleet of more than 47,000 vehicles in order to meet end-use monitoring requirements.

Although the focus of the ANP in 2015 was to combine their capabilities with the ANA to fight the insurgency, the long-term goal for the ANP remains the transition to a more traditional community police force. Currently, ANP forces are often on the front lines during the “hold” phase of counterinsurgency operations. However, they are not sufficiently trained or equipped for traditional counterinsurgency tactics as they have limited crew served weapons, anti-armor weapons, armored vehicles, or ISR assets.

The ANP sustained a disproportionately higher number of casualties in 2015 than the ANA due to inadequate training and equipment, poor planning processes, and a sub-optimal force posture that leaves ANP forces vulnerable at static checkpoints. In addition, the ANP are often influenced by local power brokers or misemployed as personal bodyguards. Despite these challenges, public confidence in the ANP’s ability to provide local security remains at 70 percent.

The ANP had an authorized end strength of up to 157,000 personnel. As of October 20, 2015, the ANP had reportedly filled 93 percent of their total tashkil with approximately 146,000 personnel (see Figure 15). This end strength does not include approximately 6,500 students in the police academy and other training centers inside and outside of the country.

Although overall end strength decreased when compared to the previous reporting period, this is primarily attributable to an ANP personnel review in May and June 2015 which revealed that nearly 6,000 personnel were being double-counted between various ANP pillars and MoI headquarters. During this reporting period, monthly personnel gains increased slightly; however, monthly attrition varied between 1.9 and 2.3 percent, slightly higher than the previous reporting period.


The AUP, the largest pillar of the ANP, are responsible for maintaining public order and supporting rule of law through community-based policing, which is locally referred to as democratic policing. The democratic policing approach was instituted to create within the AUP methods to build responsibility towards the community and thereby increase service to and reduce criminal actions against the community.

As of March 2012, the total strength for the AUP was 85,434, an increase of 6,002 personnel from the previous reporting period. The AUP is slated to grow to an end-strength of 85,532 personnel by November 2012.

Untrained patrolmen and the lack of a sustainable logistics system remain the biggest challenges for the AUP. NTM-A and the MoI continue to emphasize recruiting in order to ensure all available training seats are used. As of March 2012, the AUP had a total of 12,500 (20 percent) untrained patrolmen and NCOs. AUP attrition remains the lowest of all police pillars, averaging 1.0 percent per month during the reporting period.


The ANP continued to recruit and field elite police units that are trained by and partnered with ISAF Special Operations Forces (SOF) in support of the COIN strategy. Provincial Response Companies (PRCs) are provincially-based Special Police Units (SPU) that specialize in civil order security and high-risk arrests, and partner with ISAF SOF and U.S. forces for training and operations. Currently, 19 PRCs, each comprised of approximately 100 police, have been fielded. ISAF SOF also partners with other SPU, such as Commando Force (CF) 333, a special police commando unit originally developed by UK Special Forces for counternarcotics and interdiction, but now considered a multi-functional commando force capable of high-risk arrests. The Crisis Response Unit, a national response unit based in Kabul, is partnered with ISAF SOF in high-risk arrest and hostage rescue missions, primarily in the capital region.

Over the period October 2011 through March 2012, training efforts focused on the successful completion of the first PRC Basic Course at the Special Police Training Centre (SPTC) in Wardak Province. The SPTC conducts centralized Special Police courses for PRCs, a fundamental requirement for the force generation and expansion of this organization, and ensures that a common standard is set country-wide. The first eight-week PRC Advanced Course is currently underway.

The Foundation and Advanced Training of national-level special police units continued to be conducted by the units themselves at individual locations, enabled by the units' coalition mentor teams. Work to consolidate and centralize these specialist courses through the establishment of a Special Police Training Wing in 2012, co-located with CF333 at Fort Hunter in Logar Province, continues.

Following lessons learned from the initial PRC Basic Course, a proposal for a dry training facility has been developed for funding consideration. This facility would consist of several compounds and buildings of local style, to allow SPTC (and others) to conduct realistic contextual training in building/compound assault and clearance, sensitive site exploitation, search, and other related tactical activities.

The General Command of Police Special Units [GCPSU] provides the ANP with a capability to conduct evidenced-based operations, high-risk arrests, and respond to high-profile attacks. The GCPSU often provides rapid response to critical situations such as emergencies or hostage situations. The approximately 6,000-personnel GCPSU is responsible for the command and control of all MoI special police units, including 3 National Mission Units, 33 Police Special Units, and 19 Investigative and Surveillance Units (ISUs). The GCPSU also operates two training facilities that provide tailored training to National Mission Unit and Police Special Unit elements.

Evidence-based operations entail arresting individuals for whom there is sufficient unclassified evidence to attain a conviction in an Afghan court of law.

Over the last several months of 2015 the GCPSU was often deployed in operations to combat insurgent offensives in Kunduz, Faryab, Kandahar, and Uruzgan. This is a deviation from their intended role to provide direct support to counterterrorism operations against insurgents and their supporters, to counternarcotics and drug smuggling operations, and to combat the funding of terrorism. When faced with deteriorating security situations, provincial chiefs of police tend to utilize the GCPSU units in their area for normal police functions. This employment degrades units’ ability to plan and train for high skill level operations. The new ANP zone command structure and improved oversight at the ministerial and operational levels may assist in improving GCPSU force employment.

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Page last modified: 06-09-2018 17:36:47 ZULU