New Afghan Program Graduates First Police
February 22, 2008
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Feb. 22, 2008) - The first class of 259 Afghan National Police from Zabul province graduated Feb. 21 from the new Focused District Development eight-week training initiative in Kandahar and on the same day the first class of 143 graduated in Herat.
On the outside, they look like any other policemen in Afghanistan, but if Col. James Klingaman is right, this group of newly trained Afghan National Police might prove to be the best in the country.
Klingaman is the commander of Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command-West and addressed the graduating police Thursday in Herat, the hub of western Afghanistan's Bala-Beluk district.
The FDD initiative is a reform by the Afghan Ministry of Interior which aims to improve policing in Afghanistan, district by district. It was developed by the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan to address issues of inadequate training, poor equipment and corruption that made it difficult for the police to provide public safety and internal security.
The ANP officers in Heart graduated from phase three, where their entire district was reorganized, re-equipped and retrained during an eight-week training course. The courses are taught by civilian police instructors at the eight Regional Training Centers throughout the country.
Phase Four will involve reinserting them back into their district, which should take about a week, officials said.
This will be the true test of FDD, according to Col. Peter W. Foreman, deputy to the commanding general, Police Development for CSTC-A.
"The real test will be this next week when the police go back to their districts and we see how the people perceive them," Foreman said.
The policemen won't go back to Bala-Beluk alone. A Police Mentoring Team comprised of U.S. soldiers will be there to help them use their newly taught policing skills. The senior enlisted mentor for that team is Army Master Sgt. John Welgos, who reminded the graduating class of their responsibility to protect the public.
"The eyes of the people will watch you closely," he said. "Stay on the path of good."
In Kandahar, Governor Assadullah Khalid told the class "with you graduating, it gives us hope and peace; you are the ones who stand against the bad people."
Maj. Gen. Marc Lessard, Regional Command-South, offered words of inspiration and support to the new graduates, who had recently completed the FDD cycle one training. "Today will bring great stability within Afghanistan."
"As policemen you represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; there is no higher honor" Lessard said. "The contributions of every one of you is vital to the ordinary Afghan; you uphold the rule of law."
The eight-week FDD cycle one training initiative is the first of three training initiatives and it offered essential skills training to the police elements throughout the districts of Qalat, Shahjoy, and Tarnak va Jaldak in Zabul province. The tasks included mounted/dismounted patrols, urban/village operations, and district coordination center and station security tasks.