Progress continues with ANP facility in Wardak Province
Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness and French Col. Jean Yves Bastard, discuss construction progress at the Afghanistan National Police Training Center in Wardak Province.

WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Dec. 28, 2010) - Steady but slower than expected progress continues at the new Afghanistan National Police Training Center in the Wardak Province, with expectations of the first class starting early March still in the plans.

Brig. Gen. John J. McGuiness, deputy commander for Regional Support, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, toured the eventual $95 million facility Dec. 22, to see for himself where things stood.

Wardak province is one of 34 in the country, located in the central-east region of Afghanistan. It has a population of approximately 540,100. The capital of the province is Maydan Shar. According to internet sources, the majority of the population lives in rural areas. The most heavily populated areas are along the Kabul - Kandahar Highway. The rest of the province is thinly populated.

French Col. Jean Yves Bastard, of the Gendarmerie, a military body charged with police duties among the civilian population, greeted McGuiness and provided him with a tour. The Gendarmerie is part of the French Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense.

The two, along with some coalition engineer personnel, inspected interiors of classrooms, barracks, latrines and showers, and an all-electric kitchen. Later, Master Sgt. John Bali, Army Corps of Engineers, a construction representative who specializes as a construction engineer, led the tour after lunch.

"I had not been here since August so I was very glad to see the progress made to date. The facility is starting to take shape and will be a premier facility when it is finished," McGuiness said following the trip.

The NTM-A end-state goal is to have a professionally led ANSF, which generates and sustains enduring police, army, medical, infrastructure and logistics capabilities with accountable and effective Afghan ministries that are responsive and answerable to the people.

Institutions like the National Police Training Center are seen by coalition forces as a key element to the lasting success of an independent Afghanistan.

The tour also consisted of seeing the exterior of other buildings and in general, what still needs to be done to facilitate the start of the first class consisting of 100 students in early March. The inauguration ceremony is slated for March 15.

The Afghan National Civil Order Police course is 18 weeks long and includes four weeks devoted to literacy training. The second course is expected to begin April 1.

Once fully operational, the center can handle 3,000 students and hold 500 recruits, Bali said.

McGuiness also asked questions on wells, pump houses, water quality, generators, and furniture to name a few of the key areas of concern. Bastard acknowledged that some areas were behind schedule but assured McGuiness the first class would take place as scheduled.

"I can only go as fast as my design-build," John Haines, project manager for Technologists, Inc., the company awarded the contract, told McGuiness.

With a projected deadline of Feb. 15, compound construction is still in Phase 1. However, Haines assured McGuiness that phase 2 construction would go faster than phase 1, with an expected completion deadline of mid-summer.

The training facility, with a 2.2-mile perimeter, will have nine classroom buildings, 23 barracks, 23 guard towers, three dining facilities, two headquarters and support buildings, a gymnasium, an auditorium, a waste treatment plant, and a fire station. Outside the perimeter will be several firing ranges.

The total area will be 900,000 square feet and include 9.6 miles of graveled roads, 6.3 miles of paved roadway, a parade field, volleyball court, concrete bunkers for 2,000 students and 500 staff members and a soccer field with reviewing stand.

To date, 2,100 Afghans are working on site with an actual goal of 3,000, Bali said, with 1,000 coming from the local area during the construction phases. Many are unskilled laborers who make about $8 daily, which helps their families and the local economy.

In comparison, according to a story in the Asia Times in January, Aziz Shams, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Finance, said the average Afghan income was $426 a year or $8.19 a week.

According to an Army Corps of Engineers fact sheet, once the training center is fully functional, an estimated 1,062 Afghans will be employed, with a monthly salary disbursement of $300,570, along with Afghan subcontractors/supplier payments coming to $1.06 million.

"The training center's economic impact on the local economy will be very positive. With so many local jobs and salaries tied to the center, it will give the people a great incentive to keep the insurgents out of the area," McGuiness said.

The construction start date was January 2009, with a projected June 16, 2011, completion date.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16