Almost continually Afghanistan has had a national police force which, centrally controlled, served the interests of the government in a repressive manner. Dependent on the signature of the regime, the role and realisation of its task differed. Where in the nineteen-sixties and seventies the emphasis lay mainly on the continuation of the established power, in the subsequent period it was broadened to also realise the communist ambitions. In the Taliban period the communist ambitions were replaced by a striving to realise the conservative reading of the Shari’a. The armed police organisation along military lines, however, has never shown itself to be strong or effective. Corruption, abuse of power and lack of trust from the population increased the problem of ensuring law and order from Kabul even to the remotest corners of the country. In predominantly tribal areas the Arbakee proved to be an effective instrument. This tribal police stood close to the population, but did not play a role in many western eyes, as they did not have a permanent character and used methods of coercion for which
there were no (legal) regulations. This contribution aims to provide an answer to the question what efforts the international community, including the Netherlands, is making in the realisation of an adequate level of security and police reform in the present-day Afghanistan. In doing so, the article investigates the extent to which activities of these international organisations are consistent and contribute to the result intended. It begins with a description of the activities that have been carried out since 2002, in which these efforts and the international actors involved in them are considered in context. Also, the vision on the Afghan police and the organisation the Afghan government deems necessary will be discussed. Besides, the plans for the construction and reform of
the police force will be addressed, after which a first balance will be drawn up of six years of police reform. The article is concluded with a number of bservations.