News: Afghan police training center has biggest graduation in its history
Story by Sgt. Antony Lee
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Hundreds of Afghan police students recently graduated from two separate training courses during a ceremony on a warm day in late December at Regional Training Center – Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
It was the biggest graduation in the history of RTC-K, one of the largest police training centers in Afghanistan. Full responsibility of the training center was just handed to the Afghan people – namely to Brig. Gen. Nasrullah Zarifi, the commander of RTC-K – from the International Security Assistance Force on Oct. 10, 2013.
About 90 students graduated from an Afghan Local Police class, and about 350 students – including more than 100 students from Uruzgan Province who flew down to RTC-K to attend the course – graduated from a basic police training course.
“What you learned here, you have to implement during your daily duties, and show the people we are (here) for your service,” Zarifi said during the graduation, encouraging the students to take initiative to help provide a safer Afghanistan.
“Congratulations to all of you graduating,” Zarifi added.
Several distinguished visitors – including Maj. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar Province, and Brig. Gen. Seyed Azim Hussaini, the commander of Kandahar Regional Medical Hospital, attended the graduation ceremony, marking the importance of the occasion.
“What you learned here, share it with your friends in (your) units,” Raziq said in a speech. “As police, you have to treat your people nicely. Be patriots to your country and serve with honesty.”
Raziq, during his speech, recognized and thanked Zarifi for his hard work as the head of the training center. He also thanked ISAF for their support in the overall effort to help create a secure Afghanistan.
“They stand with us to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan and to train our forces,” he said. “Now it is our job to secure our country by ourselves.”
Army Maj. Robert Flores, an ISAF security force assistance team advisor, said that as soon as the Afghans took control of the school – on Oct. 10, 2013 – that they took the initiative to train more of their policemen.
“It’s a pretty significant event because RTC-K just transitioned over to full Afghan control. They did it independently of ISAF support.”
Staff Sergeant Jeff Olvera, another ISAF police advisor, added that the Afghans are maximizing numbers at RTC-K with only half of the facilities available.
“Regional Training Center – Kandahar is doing well,” he said. “It has taken off really well since Oct. 10. It is succeeding with minimal help from us.”
Sergeant First Class Michael Garcia, an advisor who works with Zarifi, said that “50 percent more students are graduating now than when it was in coalition force hands.”
Flores added that the Afghans are trying to create an infrastructure of trained police officers.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for the Afghans,” he said. “It’s a demonstration of their commitment.”