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The heavy (and discreet) tribute of the Afghan police: 10 dead a day!

(BRUSSELS2) “ On average, about 10 Afghan policemen are killed every day. This tribute phrase from Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister who chaired the gymnich, the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Stockholm which ended on September 5, escaped many comments. And that's a shame. This reminder in the form of homage is healthy. Because this hemorrhage very surely undermines, even more surely than the losses suffered by our soldiers, the stability of Afghanistan

Very discreet lossess… We often talk, in fact, about the international losses suffered in Afghanistan. Much less than those of the Afghan police officers, who are on the front line and pay dearly – very dearly – for their commitment. Even if we can discuss the figure given by the Swedish Minister (this one seems a little significant to me in view of the other information available, or it only takes into account the last few weeks or includes all security forces), the losses suffered by the Afghan police (and more generally the local security forces) show the extent of the difficulty in Afghanistan to stabilize the country and train a modern police force. A task that the European Union is trying to tackle with its Eupol mission, not without difficulties (1).

A hemorrhage that undermines stability. When we talk about restoring the rule of law and training police officers, we should take this fact into account. What normally constituted State could thus hold out in the face of such hemorrhage? How can it restore stability when the marrow substance responsible for protecting it is leaking? How can we avoid legitimate fear and the temptation not to “do too much” among those who remain? How can we attract and train new volunteers if every day several of them die “at the front”? Practical questions also: How can the families of the dead and injured also be compensated?
How can we ensure the protection of these police officers (collective and individual)? … And a difficult, strategic question, but necessary if we want – to use the usual word – to successfully “Afghanize” the conflict: what Western means should be made available to them, under their direct command? These are perhaps the essential questions that we must ask ourselves and the actions that Europeans
must develop, rather than more reinforcement for the military forces.


(1) Very concrete difficulties, read “difficult recruitment”.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).