From Judy Dempsey, the International Herald Tribune: Just as the European Union’s police training mission in Afghanistan has carved out a role, its chief, Brig. Gen. Jukka Savolainen, is one of the few to question the decision by NATO to pull out troops by 2014.
“The locals are so afraid,” General Savolainen said, referring to the dozens of Afghans he employs in a mission he took over last July.
“They are convinced that once we leave, their throats will be cut,” he added in an interview Monday in Berlin.
Afghan security forces have seen it happen in Iraq, where the police and the army have been responsible for security since last year, when the U.S. began its withdrawal. Over the past several weeks, the Iraqi police have been targeted by suicide bombers. Last year in Afghanistan, General Savolainen said, 1,400 police officers were killed by insurgents.
But General Savolainen, a plainspoken Finn, says his focus is on what his small mission of 350 international staff, plus local residents, can achieve before the end of 2013, when the E.U. mandate to train the police expires. (photo: europalehti.fi)