Defection of Afghan police officers: Van Bommel wants an explanation

25 July 2012

Defection of Afghan police officers: Van Bommel wants an explanation

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is demanding an explanation from the Foreign Minister regarding the defection to the Taliban of an Afghan Police Commandant and his unit. Van Bommel does not believe that the same action on the part of Dutch-trained police officers can be ruled out.

Harry van BommelVan Bommel: ‘As a result of corruption, collaboration, drug abuse and involvement in human rights abuses, the police already have a bad name in Afghanistan. Now another unit has gone over to the enemy against whom they are supposed to be fighting. We need a rapid review of the extent of this problem.’

The commandant who has defected was the head of a unit responsible for the border post with Iran. Before the defection a number of officers who refused to join them were poisoned, and rumour has it that the defectors took with them weapons, communications devices and two military vehicles. The Netherlands and other western countries have been training police officers and soldiers in order to prepare them to be able to take over responsibilities in Afghanistan. The police unit’s defection is a further blow to confidence in Afghan security forces.

‘Training of the security forces is in fact the only strategy remaining to NATO in Afghanistan,’ Van Bommel points out. ‘So it’s of the greatest importance that the minister give an explanation of this incident. I want to know what type of police unit it is that has defected and how this can be explained. In addition, the minister must indicate how the defection of Dutch-trained police officers can be prevented.’

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