A Danish policeman is to be charged with turning an inefficient and corrupt Afghan police force around on behalf of the European Union.
According to politiken.dk’s information, Kai Vittrup, a former Assistant Commissioner in Copenhagen, was recently invited to an interview in Brussels to discuss the job as head of the EU police force in Afghanistan. Vittrup is expected to be appointed at a meeting of the EU Security Policy Committee on Friday, Oct. 3, following a recommendation by the EU’s Foreign Policy Coordinator Javier Solana.
“We will have to wait for Solana’s recommendation and the meeting Friday, but it looks good,” says Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller (Conservative). He calls Vittrup “the best man for the job”.
“Kai Vittrup is an able ‘trouble shooter’ and had developed a diplomatic ability which is a necessity when two different cultures such as the Afghan and European cultures meet. The EU could not find a better man to solve that assignment. If it can be solved,” Møller says.
More Danish cops to Afghanistan
There are 200 EU police officers posted in Afghanistan, and a further 100 will be posted there soon. Denmark will increase its contingent from eight to 12 officers.
“It is very important that Afghanistan has a disciplined police force ready to keep an orderly country once the military battles are over,” says Møller.
Devastated and corrupt
The task of heading the EUPOL force will not be a simple one. Afghanistan has to build up a police force in a country that basically has not previously had police and at a time when large parts of the country are devastated by war. Not least corruption is flowering alongside fields of opium poppies.
Vittrup: police in the streets
Vittrup is currently developing a police force in Sudan. He says in a telephone interview that the greatest challenge in Afghanistan is to get all the many players to pull in the same direction.
“The goal is to create visible results. People should see police patrolling in the streets – a police force they trust. We are there to establish a police force for the sake of the Afghans and indirectly for our own sake - to avoid terrorism. We will create a police force for them – and with them. This latter is important. If the Afghans do not accept what we do then they will change it as soon as we have left the country,” he says.
And all this will be your responsibility while at the same time the Taleban is shooting at you, the narcotics industry is booming and kidnapping has become a profitable line of business?
“Yes, and there is one more challenge: According to my information 627 Afghan policemen have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded this year alone.”
On a scale from 1 to 10 with one as the easiest, how would you rate the work you have done in Kosovo, Basra, Sudan and what you are going to do in Afghanistan?
“Kosovo was 4, Sudan 7, Basra 9 and Afghanistan will be 10. I have no doubts that Afghanistan will be the toughest challenge,” says Kai Vittrup.
Edited by Julian Isherwood