A journalist in Afghanistan writes:

I just wanted to say Fred Kaplan is only half right to stress the importance of building up the ANA, which is an essential tool for pushing back against insurgents. But that is only the first part of the "clear, hold, build" strategy needed in any counter insurgency campaign. The crucial thing is finding a way to hold ground once it's been cleared - that's the job of police forces.

Thus far police reform in Afghanistan has been failure, not least because the Germans did such a bad job when they were given responsibility for it. The US is now pouring in billions of dollars a year to something called 'Focused District Development' whereby the entire police force of a particular district is removed and given six weeks training. It's early days and the results are mixed so far. Creating a quality police force is going to be much harder than creating a decent army. Not only will it be expensive, it will also require half-decent mentors willing to run the huge risk of living and working alongside policeman in some of the most dangerous and unstable parts of the country. At the moment too many of them remain behind the secure walls of military bases.

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