FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan – As Afghans assume more security responsibilities in southern Afghanistan, Marines are focused on training Afghans who want to protect their districts and villages.
In the Sangin district of Helmand province, Marines with Police Advisor Team 2, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, are training Afghan police by running an Afghan Local Police academy. The academy is located at Kashty Lara, an Afghan Uniformed Police compound near Forward Operating Base Jackson. During the three-week course, future police train in the basics of patrolling, vehicle and personnel searches, checkpoints, escalation of force, detainee procedures, marksmanship and Afghan law. After completing training, the new ALP are stationed at patrol bases in their hometowns.
“I have learned a lot during this course, and I appreciate the Marines helping us,” said Hasti Mohammed, an ALP trainee from Kajaki district. “I wanted to become a police officer because I want to be able to provide peace and security for my people and for myself.”
Even though the training schedule is compressed because of time restraints, 1st. Lt. Jeff Schuele, the PAT 2 officer-in-charge, from Troy, Mich., said he has been able to see a difference in the Afghans from when they first arrive at the academy to when they graduate.
“You see improvement in their discipline from when they first get here,” Schuele said. “The biggest change though is in their knowledge. We’ll do some practical exercises, and they’ll actually know what they’re doing without us having to really tell them anything.”
Schuele also said the success of the ALP rests on individual Afghans receiving the training.
“The most important thing is their desire to keep their village safe. If they want it, then they’ll listen and they’ll learn,” said Schuele. “We give them tests throughout the course, and they’ve done well on the tests. So they have been retaining the knowledge, which is good to see.”
Mohammed sees his service with the ALP as his duty, saying Afghans need to stand together to reclaim their country.
“Every man must stand hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder in order to make our country better and provide peace and security for our people.”