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From Newsweek

After Spending Eight Years And $6 Billion in U.S. Cash, Afghan Police Training Program Is Still A Mess

Building a strong national police force is a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s effort to stabilize Afghanistan and create a permanent security structure to maintain civil order in the country. But according to a joint investigation by NEWSWEEK and the public interest journalism group ProPublica, after spending more than $6 billion in tax dollars over the last eight years trying to establish an Afghan police force, the U.S. government has little to show for its investment.

The administration’s top policy honcho for the region, Richard Holbrooke, has publicly called the existing Afghan police “an inadequate organization, riddled with corruption.” When the Obama Administration reviewed Afghanistan policy last year, “this issue received more attention than any other except for the question of U.S. troop levels,” Holbrooke told NEWSWEEK. “We drilled down deeply into this.”

The administration is still coming to grips with the seriousness of the problem. As our cover story reports, at a March 12 briefing in the White House Situation Room, President Obama asked his senior advisers if Afghan police will be ready for action by July 2011 when the scheduled draw down of American troops is supposed to begin. The answer, from Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the American officer in charge of building Afghanistan’s security forces, was not encouraging. “It’s inconceivable, but in fact for eight years we weren’t training the police,” Caldwell told the president and his assembled senior advisers, who included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Bob Gates, and top military, national security, and intelligence chiefs. “We just never trained them before. All we did was give them a uniform,” Caldwell said, according to a senior official who was in the room—and who asked for anonymity when speaking about sensitive information.

The president, said the official, looked stunned. “Eight years and we didn’t train police?” Obama said.  “It’s mind boggling.” The room went silent.

You can read the full cover story here.

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