News: Afghan police learn to defend supply convoys
Story by Tech. Sgt. Adrienne Brammer
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Afghan uniformed police of the 404th Maiwand Zone in Kandahar recently completed a one-time two-month convoy course. The training was designed to prepare them for situations they could encounter while delivering supplies and equipment to the districts and provinces of southern Afghanistan, which include Daykundi, Uruzgan, Zabul and Kandahar provinces.
Their U.S. instructors made sure the course began with the basics, which means driver’s education. Later instruction included roll-over drills, convoy operations, and weapons familiarization.
Smiles were glued to every face while the police cleaned weapons in preparation for a practice convoy around the base. Staff Sgt. Alfred Middleton, one of four U.S. soldiers teaching the course, said the Afghans would be energized on days when they knew they’d get behind the wheel.
“A lot of the guys have never driven before, never been in vehicles before, so whenever there’s an opportunity for them to drive, there is a lot of excitement,” Middleton said. “The program really took off because of the enthusiasm, because of their willingness to learn about the vehicles and how to use the equipment properly. We were excited for them and they were excited because they had an opportunity to do something they hadn’t done before.”
The Afghans taking the class work inside the Regional Logistics Center, which distributes supplies and equipment to other policemen in the region. Completing the course allows them to be safer and more mobile than before. One of the supply officers, 3rd Lt. Attaullah, who declined to give his first name, was looking forward to getting to work.
“We got the training, now we’ll be moving the supplies, equipment, trucks from this province to other districts and provinces. I’m very happy about graduation so we can help our country and people,” Attaullah said.
The class had a maximum of 32 students, which varyied throughout the course, because they were not full-time students. These dedicated policemen still had responsibilities and duties that their positions demanded. Regardless, Sgt. Hamayin, a supply sergeant, valued the training they completed. Hamayin declined to give his first name.
“It’s going to help us a lot in the future, so we can make contact with the enemy and defeat the enemy.”
Similar training had been happening since October 2010, but the course didn’t exist in its current form until April 2011. The experienced drivers and gunners from the class will be able to pass their knowledge on to future drivers and gunners, eliminating the need for coalition instructors.
“If the program holds true, then the personnel that we trained to train will actually be able to do what we did while we were here and continue the lessons,” Middleton said.
All things considered, he noted that it’s been a remarkable experience to work closely with members of the Afghan uniformed police.
“It’s been great for us, because we had an opportunity to do something for someone who really needs the skill. As opposed to most of us soldiers – we’ve been driving since we were 14 or 15 years old,” Middleton said.
“But when you’re actually able to train someone who really needs the skill to be able to survive, then it’s a great feeling. I know for me and my instructors, we’re greatly appreciative of the opportunity and also being able to pass on something that could potentially save lives.”