The number of Afghan police has shifted constantly over time, hampered by corruption, incomplete statistics and "ghost" officers. The Government Accountability Office has reported that the Pentagon doesn't trust the figures, which come from Afghanistan's Interior Ministry. The ministry "reports the number of police assigned ... these numbers may not be reliable," according to a May 2007 GAO report (PDF). Later that year, the Defense Department conducted a survey and was unable to verify the existence of about 20 percent of police and more than 10 percent of the border police listed on the ministry payroll records, according to another GAO report (PDF).
In any case, here's what the count has been by different groups, inside and out of the federal government:
- 32,000 as of Jan. 2005, from a report by GAO dated June 2005;
- 62,500 as of March 2007, from a report by GAO dated May 2007;
- 80,000 as of April 2008, from a report by GAO dated June 2008;
- 80,000 as of March 2009 from a joint report by the inspectors general for Departments of Defense and State dated Feb. 2010;
- 68,000 as of Aug. 2009 from a report by United States Institute of Peace report dated Aug. 2009;
- 94,000 as of Nov. 2009 from testimony by Gen. Richard P. Formica before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Dec. 2009;
- 94,958 as of Dec. 2009 from a report by the Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction dated Feb. 2010;
- 56,000 as of Feb. 2010 from testimony by Mark L. Schneider, senior vice president of the International Crisis Group before the Wartime Contracting Commission in Feb. 2010.