Police institutions reach a high degree of autonomy only under conditions of a pacification of society in which the polity is democratized. In autocratic regimes, conversely, police power will remain very closely tied to the quest of governments to maintain power and secure order, often through very violent means and in close conjunction with military forces. These conditions are important to consider in the case of the policing of Afghanistan and Iraq since the invasions of both countries, in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Both states were subject to autocratic rule in the years prior to the invasions. Iraq was under tight control of the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein since 1979, whereas Afghanistan was politically dominated by the Taliban since 1996. The police function in both systems was intimately tied to the political objectives of the state. Since the invasion of both countries and the introduction of democratic systems of government, however, these conditions will have changed to democratize the polities of the two countries and develop accompanying civilian police systems.