Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Afghan Border Police

Whenever the ANP are mentioned, there is a tendency to add in a description of just what a rotten group they tend to be:
  • The ANP recruits are not just conscripts, but conscripts that lack the ability to dodge service in a better part of government or to simply desert and return home. 
  • ANP are corrupt and shake down local villagers for food and money, which is closely tied to the tendency for ANP not to get paid, as the higher ranks withhold pay or divert it to their own use. 
  • Many (most?) ANP recruits are illiterate, so enforcing laws or rules becomes arbitrary and irregular since they are not following a specific written set of laws. 
  • ANP members tend to be sent to serve in a different part of the country than their home district.  This creates a concern as often the ANP members won't even speak the language of the district where they are serving:  they end up being as alien to the local population as the international ISAF or OEF forces. 

Corruption within the ANP ends up reflecting poorly on the Government of Afghanistan as the ANP is the most visible element of government presence.  A corrupt police force reinforces a negative perception of the government, which provides the Taliban with moral force which a less corrupt police force could negate.  Just look at the discussions in Canada and the USA about police powers (for example, police tactics at G20 in Toronto or Black Lives Matter), and then magnify that by putting the police in the middle of the Afghan insurgency.  If people can't trust the cops, can they trust the government?  And in turn, bad cops just provide the insurgency with greater moral authority.

At any rate, my first AGF recruits turned out to be ANP.  Since I've finished them, the insurgency has received many more recruits, and I realized I needed a few more AGF types to give the poor ANP a chance.  So in my latest order to Eureka, I added in another dozen ANP with helmets, and to further distinguish them I decided to paint them as Afghan Border Police.  The Border Police are a slight variation on the ANP.  They tend to be recruited more on a tribal basis and serve in their home districts.  They are bound to each other by ties of kinship and are familiar with the border areas that they patrol. 

They also wear camouflage that looks a bit like the chocolate chip pattern used by US forces in the First Gulf War, so I had a chance to paint something a little different!

A group shot

RPG troopers

With their ANP comrades in arms

And finally, the combined AGF to date!