His knees swaying and his smooth face shadowed by an oversized helmet, Amir Khan Mohammad Naim did not look like an elite law enforcement officer.
But when a call went out in his rural hometown for recruits to join Afghanistan’s police commandos, the 21-year-old farmer’s son from the quiet province of Daykundi did not hesitate.
“My duty is to secure Afghanistan, meter by meter,” Naim said recently between drills at a police training center north of Kabul, where NATO advisors are overseeing part of a major transformation in Afghan security forces.
While conventional Afghan soldiers and police struggle to hold their ground against insurgents, the country’s special forces have been a rare success story, routinely responding first to attacks and leading the majority of offensive operations. Now the U.S.-led coalition is backing a plan to nearly double the size of the elite units in an effort to take back territory from the militants.