Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, a member of the Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the agreement that General David Petraeus struck with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to establish community police forces in Afghan villages to protect them from the Taliban. Since her first trip to Afghanistan last year, Shea-Porter has been urging the US Government to adopt this strategy.
"I have consistently said that local defense initiatives by Afghan tribal leaders and villagers are critical to success in Afghanistan," said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. "I am pleased that this new community police program will rely on local Afghans defending themselves, and I am hopeful that this will enable Afghans, from the village level up, to take increasing responsibility for their own defense. Local forces can provide effective protection for small or isolated Afghan communities where the military is absent, which is most of Afghanistan."
Last week, Shea-Porter led a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to Afghanistan. This was the first House Delegation to meet with General David Petraeus in his new role as Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). Upon returning from Afghanistan, Shea-Porter said, "I believe our best chance for success depends on the local tribes' willingness to defend their own backyard."