KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan Uniformed Police non-commissioned officers operating the City Gates recently received training from U.S. soldiers at the City Gates headquarters to improve operations at entry points into the city.
The leaders invited to participate in the training will take what they’ve learned in the two-day training back to their posts and teach their subordinate officers. The City Gates Kandak is comprised of nine entry points into the city that are manned by police departments. Since there are not many highways in Afghanistan these police officer’s responsibilities are paramount to keeping the insurgent effort from entering the Kabul city limits.
The instruction included properly conducting searches of people and vehicles, identifying improvised explosive devices and proper use of equipment and how to set up an effective entry control point.
Task Force Hydra, the senior U.S. task force in Kabul, conducted the training as a part of its Police Advisory Team mission. The unit, which is commanded by the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Headquarters, a Georgia Army National Guard unit out of Columbus has the task to advise, assist and mentor the 30 police districts, their special tactical units, and the 14,000 police responsible for law enforcement and security for the capital city of Kabul and its five million residents.
Task Force Hydra PAT team is made up of a supervisory element lead by Lt. Col. Andre Edison, a Missouri guardsman and a former policeman, members of Wisconsin National Guard, and the 1186th Military Police Company an Oregon Army National Guard unit serving with Task Force Hydra.
“We bring a lot of law enforcement experience to this mission,” said Edison about the PAT team. “Because of our background, we have added to Task Force Hydra’s ability to impact the officers’ training. As the security in the capital city of Kabul increases the government becomes more legitimate.”
The City Gates leader training was held as a part of the second and last phase in the process the PAT has implemented to improve the operations of the City Gates posts and Police district. The first phase included conducting assessments of the 30 police districts and City gate posts within the Kabul province. The current phase is to address their opportunities to improve equipment, supplies, training and capabilities that were discovered during the assessments.
“The goal is for Kabul province police to be more able to keep insurgents out of the Kabul Area,” Edison said. “This training is targeted at the NCO level and they are eager to learn.”
The partnership between the Kabul City Police chief and the PAT team is imperative to the success of events like these. The City Gates commander was on hand to observe the training and was welcoming of the professionalism the U.S. soldiers shared with his officers.
“The impact has been very positive,” said Col. Deen Mohammed Sanjani. “They have never had such training and I believe it will make them more professional.”
Sanjani also spoke highly of the relationship he has built with Lt. Col. Edison over the last month of overseeing training.
“He is now my brother and my friend,” said Sanjani.
At the completion of training each officer was presented with a certificate of completion. In a brief presentation where each officer raised their certificate above their head with pride, each officer was congratulated by the trainers they had worked with for the time of the training.
The success of the training will be measured through the improvements that are made at the City Gates throughout the Kabul, but Edison is hopeful.
“I don’t think there is a long road ahead for these officers,” said Edison “They understand the importance of what they’re doing, and I’m surprised by the amount of courage they display while learning how to improve.”