Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum by Jim Murphy, Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  When I gave evidence to Sub-Committee C on 3 July, I agreed to write about the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan.

  The Mission has now been operating for a year. The Mission's Joint Action set its objective as:

    "EUPOL AFGHANISTAN shall significantly contribute to the establishment under Afghan ownership of sustainable and effective civilian policing arrangements, which will ensure appropriate interaction with the wider criminal justice system, in keeping with the policy advice and institution building work of the Community, Member States and other international actors. Further the Mission will support the reform process towards a trusted and efficient police service, which works in accordance with international standards, within the framework of the rule of law and respects human rights."

  This means that the Mission complements the much larger US police reform programme by providing civilian law enforcement expertise in Kabul, the regions and provinces. The Mission has focused on institution-building and some provincial mentoring.

  The Afghan police require both civilian law enforcement and paramilitary policing skills, and trained police need a stronger organisation in which to work. International assistance is now better focused on these three planks—civilian, paramilitary and institution building. The main US effort is now at the district level with a programme called Focused District Development, which assesses the skills of police at the district level and then provides mainly paramilitary training and mentoring. The EU and US programmes agree priorities with the Afghan Interior Minister in the International Police Co-ordination Board, created last year.

  The EU Mission strength has now reached 170 international personnel, with 40% deployed outside Kabul in 14 provinces. Significant expansion of the logistical base of the mission has allowed the pace of deployment to increase over recent months. The Mission's current manpower requirements stand at 232 international personnel, and more personnel are deploying this summer. The Mission provides training to all incoming personnel about security, the work of the Mission and the context in which it operates. The Mission employs interpreters to work alongside the international personnel. In addition, UK police officers receive firearms and hostile environment training before deployment as well as briefing on UK engagement in Afghanistan, including from fellow officers already working in the Mission.

  Police reform in Afghanistan is a very challenging task and the Mission needs strong support from Brussels and good leadership in-country. The Secretary General/High Representative Javier Solana visited the Mission on 21 April. The EU Civilian Operations Commander, Kees Klompenhouwer, visited the Mission two weeks after taking up his new role in May and is reinforcing the Mission's senior management team. Kees Klompenhouwer is focused on increasing the Mission's impact and putting into effect the commitment by the May General Affairs and External Relations Council to increase significantly the size of the Mission to over 400 international personnel. We have seconded UK police officers to assist this planning, which will focus on areas where the Mission can add most value in complement to the US reform programme and on setting a realistic timescale for deployment based on robust logistical and security planning.

  I explained in my letter of 16 July that the Mission's current Joint Action expires on 30 September but was likely to be renewed through a no-cost extension during Recess. A draft has now issued for immediate agreement by written procedure so that financial procedures can be completed in time for a possible change in the Head of Mission. The current incumbent will complete his year in September. I expect the substantive Joint Action on doubling the size of the Mission to issue after Recess.

29 July 2008




 
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