DailyExpress… A BRITISH war hero yesterday warned the Afghan national police had been “infiltrated at virtually every level” by the insurgency
Captain Doug Beattie also claimed that in British-controlled Helmand province Afghan police officers were almost all drug users.
Despite this, the vetting process for police recruits “is not serious”.
He also cited two incidents where Afghan national army soldiers had turned on British troops.
But he said Britain must stick to its policy of training Afghan security forces because it is “our exit strategy”. Capt Beattie won the Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2006 and served with the police both then and last year. He said part of the problem was that the police had not been given the same resources and training as the Afghan army.
But he said: “They are not really police. They are a tribal militia provided by their village.
“They are not controlled by central Government but by local warlords, jihadis and tribal elders. The Government pays them and sometimes elders pass the pay to the police. That’s why police sometimes set up road blocks and extract money from locals – to make ends meet.
“If the government’s paying them they’re reasonably happy. But if they don’t get enough money they’re quite happy to be paid by the insurgency.”
He alleged that a former chief of police in Helmand was caught talking directly to the Taliban on his personal phone on several occasions.
Capt Beattie, who left the Army this year after 27 years’ service, said: “The insurgency has infiltrated the police at virtually every level. Because they are poorly paid they take money from the highest bidder.”
He said drugs were readily available and about 80 per cent of the police in Helmand were “habitual users of cannabis or heroin”.
He told of the Afghan army holding one of his men at gunpoint while they murdered a Taliban prisoner before running off. And a British mentoring team had to be evacuated after paratroopers accidentally killed a child and locals attacked their base.
Captain Beattie is the author of Task Force Helmand (Simon & Schuster), priced £17.99.