Afghan police abuse 'should be warning'

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Abuse by Afghan police in part of Helmand province has been uncovered by Panorama, which broadcast the story on BBC 1 last night.

It said that there were indications of corruption, kidnapping, drug abuse, child abuse and even murder by police operating "under the noses" of allied forces in the Sangin area.

Major Richard Streatfeild, now retired from the army, told Today programme presenter James Naughtie that "we did have an opportunity for peace in Sangin... that would have avoided all the problems with the corruption of the local police... and given a much brighter future."

He went on to blame "the handover to the United States" for what he said was the "tragedy that has unfolded" in Sangin with regards to the behaviour of the Afghan police.

Rory Stewart, Conservative MP who has set up the Turquoise Mountain Foundation which is working to encourage development in Afghanistan, explained that this should be "a real warning not to try and nation build other countries in the middle of an insurgency".

"I hope that we will be more prudent elsewhere," he said.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday 26 February 2013.

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