By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
Regional Support Command-North
NTM-A Public Affairs
CAMP MIKE SPANN, Afghanistan – Every milestone accomplished by the Afghan National Security Force is another step toward the organization assuming security for the entire country ahead of the planned NATO withdrawal in 2014.
The Afghan National Police achieved another step forward in northern Afghanistan when 114 new Afghan Uniform Police recruits graduated from the basic patrolman course at Training Sustainment Site Shaheen near Mazar-e-Sharif on June 2.
“I am very proud to graduate today,” said Mohammad Yasin, a new basic patrolman for the AUP, through an interpreter. “I am also sad to leave my new friends, but now I get to serve the people,” he added as he boarded a truck that would take him to the police station where he would begin the next phase of his career.
The AUP, in conjunction with the Afghan Border Patrol and Afghan National Civil Order Police, make up the Afghan National Police force which, when counted with the Afghan National Army, make up the ANSF.
The ANCOP have recently reached their targeted recruitment goals and have changed their recruiting drive from a force building mission to force sustainment. This is a positive metric and shows that not only is Afghanistan making strides toward maintaining its own security, but that its people are choosing to be involved in the process. The AUP and ABP are still in their force building phase.
“The students are grateful for the training,” said AUP Maj. Haji Mohammad Zaher Hashemy, the TSS commander. “They leave here knowing what they need to do to be good policemen. They are always proud.”
Upon arrival, most students – 86 percent on average — do not know how to read and write. The curriculum during the eight- week course includes literacy, the law, and the importance and responsibility of the police force.
The addition of 114 new patrolmen is not the only mark of progress at the TSS. The mentor team, made up of Swedish Army soldiers, is shifting its role as well.
“The mentor team before us were teaching the classes as well as the instructors for the last class,” said Swedish Army Capt. Johannes Kirchheim, the mentor team leader. “With this class, we served in a purely mentoring role, and the Afghan instructors taught all the classes.”
The current team arrived on station May 20, and relieved another Swedish Army mentoring team. Kirchheim has been deployed to Afghanistan before, when he served on a mobile police mentoring team and conducted training at police stations on a smaller scale. He said he sees the TSS as a definite improvement.
“This training is more institutionalized,” Kirchheim said. “This is a much more efficient way to train and field a police force.”
He also noted some positive differences in the way trainees participate in their own training when they are not distracted by the daily operations of a working police station.
“The students were very enthusiastic,”Kirchheim said. “They asked a lot of questions and the repetition of materials in a controlled environment helped them retain a lot of information in a short period of time.”
Fielding a strong ANSF is an important part of ISAF’s transition strategy for a steady, gradual, conditions-based process. The international community is interested in a lasting partnership with an Afghanistan that is stable and secure. The 114 new patrolmen are another step toward that goal.
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