Morale: The Taliban and the Minimum Wage


September 16, 2007: The woefully under-paid and under-equipped Afghan National Police (ANP) force is about to receive a substantial pay-raise in the coming weeks. The current ANP wage, a scant $77 dollars a month, will be raised to the equivalent of $150 dollars a month. The much needed pay raise will certainly boost the morale of Afghanistan's fledgling security forces, and help curb police corruption (bribery and robbing civilians.)

The Afghan government has been repeatedly criticized for the low payments and inconsistent pay checks doled out to the beleaguered police force, which are often out-gunned and out-manned by Taliban insurgents. Despite their inadequate training and lack of acceptable weaponry, ANP units are the central government's only vanguard against the Taliban in most of the dangerous and remote districts that have little, if any, government influence.

Tasked with overseeing these areas from small concrete barracks that are routinely attacked by heavily armed Taliban marauders, the ANP regularly conduct military-type duties. To make matters worse, the Taliban launched an operation (Operation Ambush) in May specifically targeting the ANP. The result: over 500 ANP personnel have died in the line of duty during the last five months.

The need to increase the pay of both the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the ANP arose last year when the Taliban began offering up to $12 dollars a day for any Afghan willing to participate in menial insurgent tasks such as storing guns and ammunition, digging holes for improvised explosive devices and helping the Taliban's logistics effort. In comparison, the average Afghan soldier's paycheck was only $4 per day, a policeman's even lower.

The Taliban's monetary insensitive effectively raised the minimum wage and caused an explosion of 'blue collar' insurgents, non-ideologically driven individuals who conducted various Taliban activities for cold hard cash.

The good news is there have not been widespread desertions or mutinies within the Afghan security ranks. The ANP is currently at 72,000 personnel and is expected to meet their goal of 82,000 trained police by 2009.--Matthew C. DuPee




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close