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Afghan police deaths double as international troops exit

(File) Afghan policeman stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on July 2, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Nearly 1,800 Afghan police lose their lives between March and August
  • Local forces say they need better weapons and armored vehicles
  • NATO and American combat forces plan to leave the country by the end of 2014

Police deaths in Afghanistan have doubled this year after NATO forces handed over security responsibility to poorly equipped and poorly trained local security forces.

The country's new Interior Minister, Mohammad Omar Daudzai, said that 1,792 Afghan policemen had lost their lives and more than 2,500 had been injured since March. That's double the number of a year ago.

Roadside bombs planted by the Taliban and other insurgent groups inflict the most damage, according to Daudzai.

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Local police suffer because they lack modern weapons, armored vehicles and adequate training, he said. The security forces remain dependent on NATO air support during their operations.

On the front lines, the frustration is obvious. Security forces need better equipment.

    "My job is to save the lives of my people," said Abdullah Khan, who mans a checkpoint in the city of Jalalabad. "That is not possible with a few AK-47 guns and the soft-skin Ford Ranger vehicle that I have."

    He said it doesn't help that most of his officers are illiterate.

    The situation illustrates the difficulties local forces face as NATO and American troops largely exit the county by the end of 2014.

    The plan is to withdraw all combat troops but keep a residual force in the country to help train Afghans and carry out counterterrorism operations when needed.

    Civilian casualties in Afghanistan up by nearly a quarter