News: Afghan Police Operating at International Level
Story by Lt. Joseph Holstead
KABUL - The Afghan National Police’s capabilities continue to grow and meet international standards in significant areas, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan’s Deputy Commanding General for Police said today at the Ministry of Interior.
Maj. Gen. Stuart Beare of Canada spoke with 50 Afghan and international journalists at a combined press conference with MoI Spokesperson Zemarai Bashary.
“Your police force’s counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism units operate at an international level,” said Beare.
“As of now, there are 240 [Afghan] Border Police trained in ammonium nitrate detection. They have available over 1,000 detection kits,” he said. “As recently as Sept. 20, the Border Police tested 200 pounds of suspicious liquid that a man was attempting carrying into the country.”
The police determined the liquid contained ammonium nitrate and other explosive substances, and the man was taken into custody, Beare went on to explain. (Ammonium nitrate is commonly used to make improvised explosive devices and bombs.)
Meanwhile, Bashary provided police statistics over the the first six months of Afghan Solar Year 1389, which began March 21, 2010.
“During the past six months, the Afghan police have arrested 2,800 people for terrorist activities, seized 2,350 weapons…and diffused 3,300 improvised explosive devices and bombs,” Bashary said.
“Each city police headquarters has established new ordnance engineering teams,” he said.“Thus far, 76 people have graduated from this training.”
Bashary also spoke about the Afghan Local Police.
“At the instruction of President Hamid Karzai, the Ministry for Interior has begun training and equipping the community police force … the process first will begin in eight districts," Bashary said.
Beare added, "[t]he ALP program is moving quickly, and today we start equipping and training of those forces in the locations that are chosen by government of Afghanistan."
Interior Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammady signed the decree Sept. 16 placing ALP into the ministry’s personnel system and thus under its command authority.
According to the decree, the local police units will work under the chief of police headquarters in the following districts: (1) Khas Uruzgan in Uruzgan province, (2) Gezab district in Uruzgan province, (3) Arghandab district in Kandahar province, (4) Shendan district in Herat province, (5) Pashtro district in Farah province, (6) Jagi district in Paktia province, (7) Dand Pathan in Paktia province, and (8) Bermal district in Paktia province.
Beare also spoke about literacy training, stating that there are currently 50,000 police and soldiers in literacy training and there will be over 100,000 in the next year.
“We want to see police officers who can interact with the public in a way that allows them to authoritatively identify who the people are, read their ID card number, check license plates - so they can do their job and account for their equipment, read the serial number on the weapon in their hand,” Beare said.
A second important aspect of literacy training is that it allows the police officer to read what is front of him, he cannot be manipulated and he can take care of his own finances, Beare continued.
“The third, and perhaps most significant aspect of training, is that when this police officer comes back to his village, and he shows his mom and dad that he can read and write, his brothers and sisters that he can read and write - they're now looking at their police force through a completely different lens,” he said.
“They’re not just giving [a police officer] the ability to survive, they’re giving [him] the ability to live.”