KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is increasingly relying on a “cheap but dangerous” national militia of some 30,000 fighters, some of whom have committed serious abuses in the communities they are supposed to protect, an international research group said Thursday.
The International Crisis Group said members of the militia force, known as the Afghan Local Police, have killed civilians and committed fraud, theft, rape, kidnapping, drugs trafficking and extortion.
The government has come to rely on the ALP and other local militias as it struggles to fend off Taliban attacks. The insurgents launched their annual spring offensive in April — the first since U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of last year.
The ALP is a pro-government militia that emerged from U.S. efforts to mobilize rural communities against the Taliban. Today the militiamen fight on the front lines, losing men at three to six times the rate of soldiers and police while costing just $120 million a year, the ICG said.