Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction, Thea Hilhorst, paid a three-day visit last week to the Dutch peace-keeping force in Uruzgan. Together with members of the Dutch press, she talked at length with General Dick Berlijn, as well as with Afghan ministers, NGOs and military representatives.
Progress is being made on building up the Afghan security apparatus, says Hilhorst, but it’s behind schedule. It’s difficult to find recruits willing to work in Uruzgan for example. But in Hilhorst’s view, the real failure is the lack of focus on the police. ‘There is now an interesting development in which auxiliary police are being trained. These are local men who keep order in their own village. This has potential, but the question is who controls and manages these men? They can also become mini-potentates. But it could also be the start of local reconstruction.’