Rampant corruption is probably the most significant problem undermining the efficacy of the Afghan police force and the public’s confidence therein (though widespread drug use, lack of training and high rates of attrition haven’t been helping much either).
The police are so corrupt that the locals in certain regions prefer checkpoints manned by the Taliban to police-run outposts. Apparently, the Taliban-run checkpoints are bargains in terms of the going rate of extortion. You gotta shop around ya know.
Interestingly, one of the pillars of the “new” strategy concocted by the Obama team is to roughly double the size of the police force over the next couple of years (a relatively short period of time considering the 8 years that preceded). Pressure to add to the rolls – and fast – will inevitably provide incentive to turn a blind eye to problems regarding the suitability of applicants and current police officers.
I hate to be a downer, but there seems to be a serious flaw (or two) in the logic underlying this policy.