U.S. launches plan to bolster Iraqi police forces battling insurgency | VailDaily.com

U.S. launches plan to bolster Iraqi police forces battling insurgency

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The United States is embarking on a revamped training program for Iraq’s 80,000 police force in a bid to strengthen local security forces battling the rampant insurgency, the U.S. military said Tuesday.The program will assign up to 3,000 U.S. and international personnel, to individual Iraqi police units throughout the country to bolster police skills, equipment and practices.As pressure on U.S. authorities grows to start drawing down the number of American military personnel in Iraq, greater emphasis is being placed on improving the capabilities of local security forces.The U.S. military wants more than 130,000 Iraqi police personnel operating by 2007.The training program falls under the Baghdad-based Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and the 49th Military Police Brigade will be the primary source of personnel to provide the transitional training.”For Iraq to transform to the status of a normal nation, its police forces have to be part of the puzzle to maintain civil security,” said Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, spokesman for the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.Iraqi police have been tainted with accusations of taking part in sectarian violence and deserting in the face of insurgent threats and infiltration by militants.”In a normal nation, civil security is maintained by civil forces, and here the Iraqi police and military forces are well on their way to standing up,” Wellman told The Associated Press.”Over a year ago it used to be about putting an Iraqi face on things,” he said. “Now it is about finding Iraqi solutions to the policing side of things.”Iraq’s police forces are routinely attacked by insurgents bent on derailing Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein-era reconstruction.The violence has scared many policemen and would-be forces away from serving, causing problems for the country’s government and U.S.-led coalition troops to continue with Iraq’s postwar rebuilding.

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