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New Afghan police chief takes on corruption

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:34s - Published
New Afghan police chief takes on corruption

New Afghan police chief takes on corruption

Khoshal Sadat, the new head of Afghan police force, has one of the hardest jobs in the country - rooting out abuse and bringing new energy to a force that for years has been used as a cash machine by corrupt politicians.

Ed Giles reports.

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New Afghan police chief takes on corruption

There's a new sheriff in town in Afghanistan.

His name is Koshal Sadat, and at just 34 he's the country's new police chief.

And that means he's got one of the hardest jobs in the country.

Sadat has spent his whole adult life fighting the Taliban as a special forces officer, but now the militants are resurgent.

Despite recent hopes peace talks between the Taliban and the Western-backed government may not be far off, their leader pledged just days ago to keep fighting until the Taliban's objectives have been reached.

Those words were underscored by violence in the capital Kabul on Friday (May 31) with the Taliban claiming responsibility for a car bomb that wounded four American troops.

But the new chief says if the Taliban aren't ready for a ceasefire then his troops are ready for them.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER, KHUSHAL SADAT, SAYING: "We are just getting warmed up and we are not even fighting in a full fighting capacity yet as I see it.

So my message to the Taliban is, there is a wave coming in front of you, you either stand in front of it, or you'll be blown.

Or you, you do what is expected and what Afghan people expect of you is to drop your arms and come in a peaceful in a honorable way." Taliban violence won't be the only big challenge for Sadat.

He'll have to root out corruption and abuse from within Afghanistan's 180,000-strong police force.

They're paid peanuts and often badly trained and they're regularly subjected to interference from local warlords or corrupt politicians.

They include the uniformed Afghan National Police as well as local police militias and they're generally used more as paramilitary troops than for law enforcement.

Sadat admits it's a mess, but he says efforts to remove corrupt officials are well underway.

He's fired 30 regional commanders since he arrived.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER, KHUSHAL SADAT, SAYING: "A number of senior leaders, as well as juniors have been arrested and they are been investigated and will be prosecuted for their actions, so we will no longer want to tolerate our front-line troops not being given what they deserve, the support that they deserve." The challenge is immense and there's little time to lose.

Beyond the uncertainty of peace talks, the country's got presidential elections this fall.

A vote that's been delayed twice already over concerns of fraud - and fears of militant violence.




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