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Afghanistan Aims To Double Police Force

Afghan Interior Minister Mohamad Hanif Atmar

Afghan Interior Minister Mohamad Hanif Atmar

KABUL, (Reuters) -- Afghanistan hopes to double the size of its 82,000-strong police force and in the meantime will recruit and train 15,000 new police by the Aug. 20 presidential election, the Interior Minister said.

Hanif Atmar told a news conference on April 19 that Afghan authorities had asked international donors to approve a "strategic increase" in the size of the force, the full scope of which would be announced in June after a study into the country's needs.

"Our request was a strategic increase of the numbers of the police in Afghanistan, and two: an interim increase until we are able to basically implement the strategic increase," Atmar said.

"Initially we thought that the Afghanistan police size needs to be doubled in order to meet the requirements," he said. "We will have to do a deeper study to establish and determine the needs, and the response to the needs."

A strategic review of Afghanistan policy by the new administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has called for an increase in the size of its security forces, but has not spelled out how big they will become.