Afghanistan district to get police substations
September 10, 2012
TAKHTEH POL, Afghanistan (Sept. 10, 2012) - Afghan and U.S. forces are working together to expand the Afghan Uniformed Police presence here with the establishment of several police substations at strategic locations throughout the Takhteh Pol district starting this year.
Abdul Manaf, the district chief of police, and Security Force Assistance Team 15, or SFAT, recently divided Takhteh Pol into four police sub-zones to implement the police garrison concept, connecting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, or GIRoA, with the villagers throughout the district.
"The idea is the substations will project GIRoA's influence into the four subzones," said Lt. Col. Carlos Schroder, commander of SFAT 15. "Those substations will provide the people an opportunity to walk in and say, 'I am having a problem,' or 'I saw the Taliban coming through on a motorcycle last night,' and 'I think there is an [improvised explosive device] factory over here.' Information comes quicker and the AUP (Afghan Uniformed Police) will be able to act on that much quicker."
Establishment of substations throughout Kandahar province's newly formed district is part of the police garrison concept, where police stations are placed in outlying areas among the people.
Because of the greater danger, past security efforts concentrated on getting rid of the Taliban with little focus on community policing, said Capt. Ron Peterson.
"We are trying to get the police out to the people, not just staying here [along the Kandahar-Quetta Highway]," said Peterson, executive officer of SFAT 15. "If something happens, it takes the police sometimes two, three, or four hours to get out to the villages."
Currently in the district, situated along the highway, there are two AUP checkpoints that are too far away to adequately respond to the needs of remote villages.
"Cause one, you have to get there. You have to go down routes that may not be safe, so you may have to take alternate routes," Peterson said. "So let's get the policemen out there so the people can easily go to them."
Without security in the form of these police substations, providing assistance in the areas of health and welfare, agriculture, commerce, transportation and education will be difficult, Schroder said.
"A lot of stuff is going on here," Schroder said. "We are working with the district governor, assisting him in building up his cabinet, figuring out how he wants the cabinet to operate."
One police substation is already approved and awaiting construction with others pending. One crucial step is getting these substations built. Although, having the proper management and support to operate these sites are equally important.
"I would like to see four sub-zone commanders appointed and attending security shuras weekly with the district chief of police and district governor," Schroder said. "I would like to see the three substations that have been developed, signed off by the Afghan government and sent up to ISAF for review."
The entire process of planning, approval, and construction of one substation can take anywhere from six months to a year, Schroder said.
"What we are doing here is really important. I think this stuff is going to help the Afghan people be able to govern themselves, provide security for themselves and climb out of years of conflict," Schroder said. "We are just trying to set the stage for further success. Assisting the AUP in improving their security throughout the district would be an important part of that."