The report blames low wages for police for the corruption and security risks in Kabul; while that may be a contributing factor, no amount of money will un-corrupt a corrupt official. That becomes a particular problem in higher levels of the Afghan government, which helps to explain the lack of funding for the crucial matter of Kabul’s security despite the flow of foreign aid.
Democracy, transparency, and a functioning, non-Taliban government: Ultimately, we can’t want it for you. Afghanistan’s own official apathy toward a modern government and society has slowly handed the country back to the Taliban, all the way to the outskirts of the capital. “Taliban poised at the gates of Kabul,” by Paula Newton for CNN, March 12:
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — A top Taliban commander has told CNN his insurgents are poised and ready to attack Kabul and could strike virtually anywhere in the city.
It would be tempting to put this down to Taliban propaganda except one of Kabul’s top cops is saying the same thing.
“We are working on a security strategy for the city and if we don’t get it right, they [the Taliban] can attack at any minute, at any hour, any time,” says Commander Mohammed Daud Amin, in charge of securing the Kabul district that includes the Presidential Palace and many government ministries.
Proof of the menacing threat came just last month when eight Taliban fighters, bristling with weapons and suicide vests, burst into three government buildings in the center of Kabul. […]
With low wages comes low morale and an invitation to corruption — Afghanistan’s police are regularly accused of being on the take.
And yet their jobs couldn’t be more crucial in trying to keep together the country’s fragile security.
Take Kabul, a city clogged with somewhere between four and five million people — no one knows for sure — and traffic to match that human crush. It’s not hard to see how eight Taliban fighters seemed to so easily slip into the city last month. “They used government cars with tinted glass and we have no authority to stop them” says Abdulla Mahbob, a police officer at one of Kabul’s key checkpoints.
Still, coalition forces have no choice by to keep rooting for Kabul’s cops. By the end of the year, NATO will hand over much of the responsibility for securing the capital to the city’s police force. And that will be a crucial test to see if this city and this country can stand on its own, even with the Taliban standing at the gate.