U.S. Troops Watch TV Shows Cops, NCIS to Train Afghan Security

Training locals is cited as a reason to stay in Afghanistan 16 years after the war started.



Some American soldiers in Afghanistan have taken to watching shows like Cops and NCIS to figure out how to train Afghan security forces, a sobering reality nearly 16 years after the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan.

John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released a particuarly bleak 283-page report on "Reconstructing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: Lessons from the U.S. experience in Afghanistan."

Sopko found the U.S. was "ill-prepared to build the war-torn country's security forces, whose foundation is ravaged by decades of conflict, illiteracy and corruption," as the Washington Post reported.

American troops found themselves with inadequate training to train Afghan security forces in large part because, as the SIGAR report noted, "police development was treated as a secondary mission for the U.S. government." Troops have in some cases turned to police procedurals because they provide something familiar in a jumbled training environment.

U.S. efforts, for example, rely on cutting-edge technology and weapons systems, even though large parts of the Afghan security forces are illiterate. "We really do need to align capabilities to the needs of Afghans," Sopko told the Post yesterday. "Effective security forces are basically the way this thing ends."

The U.S. has been training Afghan forces since the start of the war and it remains a primary reason for the U.S. to remain in Afghanistan. That Sopko's report criticizes U.S. soldiers for being unequipped to do this training casts a shadow on the entire project. It is also a powerful argument for ending the war in Afghanistan.

"If you're just waiting to train the Afghans to be policemen and the military," Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told Reason almost five years ago, "it's taken 11 years already—you can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time."

The U.S. is not prepared to rebuild Afghanistan, and may never be able to, but its continued presence disincentivizes locals from trying to rebuild by themselves and take their futures into their own hands.

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  1. I had no idea Afghanistan was filled with crack hoes and white trash. We really all are more alike than different.

    1. As-Salaam-Alaikum.

    2. I hope to God it’s a typo and they mean Cops and CSI or Cops and Law And Order. NCIS isn’t even remotely or tacitly a police or even military procedural show and doesn’t really pretend to be. They might as well be combing through Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry movies.

      Come to think of it. If I were in Afghanistan, I’d probably be finding some police drama on Netflix and shoehorning it into training material too.

  2. Maybe they should try the movie Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, since seeing Bad Boyz be super nice to minorities on camera is clearly not working.

  3. There’s always Training Day. Or, perhaps, Super Troopers.

    1. “”Sopko found the U.S. was “ill-prepared to build the war-torn country’s security forces, whose foundation is ravaged by decades of conflict, illiteracy and corruption,” as the Washington Post reported.””

      No instructor can teach those not willing, or can’t understand the concepts being taught, nor those who are not committed to learn.

      I wonder how many Afghans signed up just for the money not for the responsibility of the job.

    2. Not meant to be a reply to Fist.

    3. In the spirit of the book I see some liberals reading on the train. It’s everyone else’s fault that happened.

  4. Rep Walter Jones (R-NC) has been in office since the early ’90’s, and sold paper clips for daddy’s company before that. He has no standing or qualifications to lecture anyone on training monkeys to ride bicycles.

  5. The Taliban is responding by learning how to play GTA.

  6. The locals don’t seem to fucking care, either. They were living in shacks and raising goats when we got there. They’re still living in shacks and raising goats. They don’t really seem to care about expending much effort to not live in shacks and raise goats.

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