EU names new head of Afghan police mission

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BRUSSELS, Oct 16 (Reuters) The European Union confirmed German Brigadier-General Juergen Scholz as the new head of its fledgling police training mission in Afghanistan today after his predecessor left just three months into the job.

Friedrich Eichele went back to Germany last month amid media reports of inadequate planning and NATO support for the mission.

Berlin said Eichele was being pulled out because he was needed to help with a domestic police reform drive.

Scholz led EU police missions in Macedonia from 2004-2006 and has helped train police in Africa and countries of the former Soviet Union. EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed he will take over in Afghanistan from November 1.

Corruption is seen as rife within the Afghan police force and the United States is urging the EU to send many more than the 160 or so trainers being initially deployed. EU officials say the mission could be expanded.

REUTERS RSA RAI2157

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