Major-General Julian Thompson: We must not rush the training of police

Analysis

Share
Related Topics

The deaths in Nad-e-Ali are extremely distressing and it is, of course, very worrying that they were carried out by an Afghan policeman. There will be a temptation now, if we are getting attacked by people supposedly from our own side, to say "Let's wash our hands of it".

However, the plain fact is that the only viable exit strategy involves preparing the Afghan security forces for taking over from us. We should only be there until this is done and then we must leave the Afghan forces to look after security in their own country.

This does not mean that we turn a blind eye to what are obviously deep problems within the Afghan forces, and the police in particular. Their training from the past leaves a lot to be desired and there are reports that they are poorly paid and sometimes infrequently paid. This is down to corruption – something Afghanistan suffers greatly from and something the international community must sort out.

In the past there has been a tendency to rush through the training process very quickly to get enough boots on the ground. This is counterproductive and self-defeating. There have been suggestions that any new deployment of Nato troops to Afghanistan must contain an adequate proportion of trainers – a sensible idea. Training should be given absolute priority.

The British forces carrying out the mentoring of Afghans are doing a very good job with great dedication. What happened in Nad-e-Ali must seem like a terrible betrayal. However, difficult as it is, they have to carry on. We do not have an indefinite timeframe in Afghanistan and patience will wear thin unless tangible progress is made. But this is not Iraq, and there are good, valid reasons for the West to have a presence in the country. For the time being, we need to carry on.

What we have seen in the fallout from the election is the great need for reform in Afghanistan, the need to root out malpractice. That applies not just to the political framework but the military one as well. We should help the Afghan people protect themselves against the Taliban, but they, in turn, must know that there needs to be a return for the investment we are making in troops and material. That return is a willingness to embrace reform.

Major-General Julian Thompson is the former commander of the Royal Marines

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Support / IT Sales / Graduate Sales / Trainee

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has now arisen for a Sale...

Recruitment Genius: Administration Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager

£37000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s Director of Communications  

i Editor's Letter: Poultry excuses from chicken spin doctors

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Women come back from the fields to sell vegetables at a market in Bangui, Central African Republic  

International Women's Day: Africa's women need to believe in themselves and start leading the way

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable