News: Adraskan National Training Center transitions to Afghan control despite attack near facility killing two
By Lt. David P. Varney MSC,
Regional Support Command-West/NTM-A Public Affairs Representative
ADRASKAN, Afghanistan – Adraskan National Training Center formaly transitioned to Afghan National Police control at a ceremony held at the facility Sept. 29, despite a nearby attack killing one civilian, one ANP officer and wounding another.
This day could have put a shadow on the pending transition that occurred only hours after the attack. Instead, it galvanized the attendees. Prior to the beginning of the ceremony, participants observed a moment of silence and listened to a Muslim prayer.
Each keynote speaker remarked of the sacrifices that had been made by the coalition and the Afghans.
“Our police are ready to take responsibility for this facility, and for this country, even if it takes our lives. These men and this ceremony demonstrates that,” said Maj. Gen. Mashooq Silab, Afghan Ministry of Interior training commander in his speech.
Silab also expressed his appreciation for the coalition for their efforts.
“Ten years ago, we [ANP] didn’t have any facilities. Now we have 11 permanent facilities in Afghanistan with the help of the International Security Assistance Forces. You have helped in many ways, working shoulder to shoulder with us, but the biggest contribution is the training centers, like ANTC, and we will never forget that. It is our responsibility to take care of this facility and to maintain it. On behalf of the Ministry of Interior, we thank you, and we will always remember what you have done,” said Silab.
Members of Regional Support Command West (RSC-W), tasked with the transition of ANTC to their Afghan partners also attended the ceremony with US Army Col. Keith Detwiler, RSC-W commander and his base transition staff in the lead. Also attending were ANP ANTC Commander Col. Fazi Ahmad Khalili and the Italian Carbinieri training and mentoring cadre.
Detwiler, speaking just prior to the official transition documents being signed said, “This event marks the continued progress of transition in western Afghanistan. This progress is because of (ANP) Col. Khalili and (Italian Carabinieri) Lt. Col. Lingeri, their staff, instructors and mentors here. This progress comes at a very high cost, and we are reminded of this cost with the loss of life today. We will mourn their loss and vow to never forget them by continuing the work they started to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.”
Detwiler concluded his remarks by looking to the future.
“This is a very proud day. However, the proudest days are yet to come. Five, ten, twenty years from now, ANTC will continue to produce well trained police for Afghanistan. The coalition and our Afghan partners will always reflect on our past, but we must focus on our future… and that future is the peace and stability for the people of the great nation of Afghanistan.”
US Army Capt. Frank Moy RSC-W base transition logistics advisor, who has transitioned several facilities to our Afghan partners remarked about the comprehensive process of transition.
“Transitioning bases involves far more than simply tossing our Afghan partners the keys and wishing them luck,” Moy said. “It is a deliberate, thorough, and transparent process during which we ensure that the issues and concerns of all stakeholders are hammered out long before the turnover documents are signed."
"It was great working with our Afghan partners, and with RSC-W colleagues US Army Maj. Jeffrey Marsteller and Lithuanian army Lt. Col. Gintaras Vidzickas on the Adraskan Transition,” said Moy. “The relationships and trust that we forged with Col. Khalili and his staff were invaluable as we worked together to develop solutions to challenges inherent in the transition process. It was certainly an interesting and fun experience."
Khalili emphasized the quality of training his staff will give to their students at ANTC.
“My hope is that the quality of this facility represents the quality of output month after month from this facility,” said Khalili. “Most important are the trainees: when they come in, they know nothing. Here they will learn everything. After four months, they will enforce the rule of law to provide for a stable and secure future for Afghanistan.”
Khalili concluded his remarks, likening the training center and the mentorship they’ve received from their coalition mentors to the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
ANTC is a $12.4 million compound that provides training site for the staff and students of the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Civil Order Police as well as additional facilities for training Afghan National Police recruits. Over 2,000 recruits are trained annually at the facility in specialized areas of law enforcement to include criminal investigation and special weapons and tactics. The compound includes an administration building, barracks, dining facility, and training facility.
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan is a coalition of 38 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country's security by 2014. For more information about NTM-A, visit www.ntm-a.com.