Six of them to be precise, heading over with one of the EU policing missions (EUPOL) to train Afghan law enforcement.
Nice to see the Irish get involved. Since it’s a European initiative and involves such low numbers, you can’t say it violates any neutrality laws. Actually, of course you can, and I’m sure people will. But they’re wrong.
Training police, in often cases to use a less violent approach then they might be used to, is not really a war-related activity.
Anyway, this is an admirable, but very difficult, job to undertake. Like Iraq, the Afghan police force is…dodgy to say the least. You have a lot of old school thinking embedded (that is, ‘torture is fine, prisoners have no rights’ etc.), tribal sympathies, extortionists, Taliban and extremists holding positions in the force, defectors and other problems.
EUPOL can improve things but they can’t fix all these problems in 12 months. But good luck to our boys in blue heading over. At least we can say we have a (little) dog in the fight now.
Also, I know we would never send peacekeepers over to Afghanistan, (in any useful numbers) after all, it’s too unpopular and ‘in the news’ for the government to do it. But this must be a little galling for IDF troops sitting on their asses in Sarsfield’s, Brugha’s, and the Curragh. It’s not their specific skillset (training police I mean) but nation-building sure is.