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PARWAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN (31 May 2010) – One of the fundamental steps to defeating the insurgency in Afghanistan lays in providing law and order for the people.
This responsibility falls on the Afghan National Police, a branch of the Afghan National Security Forces, which is now some 100,000 members strong and includes the Afghan Uniformed Police, the Afghan Border Police, the Afghan National Civil Order Police, and a few other policing and paramilitary entities.
In many ways, the Afghan National Police have more of an impact on counterinsurgency efforts than the Afghan National Army, said U.S. Army Maj. James A. Ramage, a deputy provost martial for ANP development for Combined Joint Task Force-82.
“If the police are legitimate, if they’re out there doing their job providing law and order; that goes a very long way toward de-legitimizing an insurgency,” said Ramage, who hails from Hope Mills, N.C. “If people are secure in their homes and their neighborhoods, they aren’t going to join an insurgency.”
Much has changed with the relationship between ANP and International Security Assistance Forces since CJTF-82 assumed command of Regional Command-East June 3, 2009. The biggest change has been that the regional task forces became directly responsible for ANP progress last fall, an event which allowed for greater opportunities for combined action, Ramage said.
The new relationship between the ANP and ISAF battle space owners, combined with initiatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, has helped combat two obstacles to developing a professional police force: corruption and lack of adequate training.
“In our rotation we’ve seen improved training and pay for the police, which in turn helps with the corruption issues,” Ramage said. “If you’re making a living wage, you’re not going to make a buck on the black market or make a buck by fleecing down civilians for illegal tolls or some other racketeering type of crime. So on our rotation, the partnership we’ve been able to do with the police along with the training, that’s helped dramatically in terms of shaping a professional police force.”
Ramage’s claim that progress has been made with the development of the ANP over the last year is corroborated by the results of a survey conducted by ISAF.
Twenty male surveyors and 20 female surveyors gathered the viewpoints of more than 6,000 Afghans residing in every district of RC-East on issues related to security and development.
According to the most recent quarterly survey completed in April, 88 percent of Afghans in RC-East reported that they agreed with the statement, “The ANP is capable of protecting.” Only 10 percent said they thought that they’re in danger from the ANP, a 7-percent decrease from April 2009.
Afghan Uniformed Police
The AUP are the largest and most frequently seen face of the ANP and first line representatives of Afghan government.
The AUP is approximately 65,000 patrolmen strong and they are charged with the day-to-day policing of Afghanistan at the district level.
Keeping the force trained and competent is a high priority for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and ISAF.
To this end, troops in RC-East have increased partnership with the AUP during the course of CJTF-82’s deployment. Of the nearly 160 districts in RC-East, troops are now conducting combined action in over 60, Ramage said. Most of this is being conducted by Military Police and other maneuver units who live at FOBs and COPs near district centers.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior has sought to build the competence of the AUP through two main training programs: the Focused District Development Program and the Directed Police District Development Program.
The FDPP extracts troubled AUP units from the districts where they operate and places them in a Regional Training Center for a period of eight weeks. While they are away, the ANCOP, an elite federal response force with more than 3,000 members comparable to U.S. police Specialized Weapons and Tactics teams, step in to fill the vacuum.
A newer program, the DPDD, is essentially an inverted version of FPDD. It allows the AUP units to remain in place and has trainers from the Ministry of Interior embed with the unit to conduct on-site training for a period of 12 weeks. During that period, half the unit trains for six weeks while the other half conducts regular operations; the two halves then switch.
This puts less stress on the ANCOP and allows law enforcement to stay local, Ramage said.
“The local elders, the local villagers, can all see the immediate benefits,” he said. “They don’t have to become accustomed to an ANCOP or some other police agency coming into their district the whole time.”
There are currently more than 50 districts in RC-East whose police are in either the FDDP or DPDD program, of which 18 began training during CJTF-82’s tour.
At that rate, the Ministry of Interior is on track to meets its goal of having all AUP “key terrain districts,” which the Ministry of Interior has selected for focused development efforts, trained by 2011.
Afghan Border Police
The ABP are composed of more than 12,000 police officers and are responsible for providing security at Afghanistan’s four international airports and 3,435 miles of border with six countries. The total length of Afghanistan’s borders is about the combined length of the U.S. border with Mexico and Canada’s border with Alaska.
Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan is its longest, stretching 1,509 miles. Of that, 450 miles is in RC-East, a distance about 100 miles longer than Arizona’s border with Mexico. The Pakistan border is particularly important because of the threats posed by the narcotics trade and organized crime groups like the Haqqani Network.
Due to other challenges facing Afghanistan, capacity building for ABP has not been a priority over the last few years. However, progress in RC-East has allowed CJTF-82 to focus on the ABP more than predecessors. They have focused on education and partnership.
The ABP have made progress over the course of CJTF-82’s deployment.
Many ISAF troops have partnered with ABP. Soldiers from C. Co., 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Regt. at Waza Khwa, Paktika province conducted over 100 patrols jointly with ANSF in their first 100 days. These troops found the ABP to be competent partners and loyal servants of their country.
“Working with the ABP is a rewarding challenge and a unique experience,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dave Hanson, a platoon leader with C. Co. from Endicott, N.Y. “The level of partnership we have been able to develop in such a short time frame demonstrates their willingness to protect their country and the promise of a bright future.”
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Scott Harris, the C. Co. executive officer, gave a similar assessment of the ABP.
“The ABP have been instrumental in our fight against the insurgents,” said Harris, who hails from Fayetteville, N.C. “Whether they are working side by side with Coalition Forces or they are out conducting independent operations, the results are always the same—success.”
Education is another area where progress has been made on CJTF-82’s watch. When CJTF-82 assumed command of RC-East June 3, 2009, no leadership development program existed for ABP NCOs.
A March 11 graduation ceremony shows that has since changed. Eleven members of the ABP completed the first iteration of a course run by Afghan instructors.
The course, held at Gardez, Paktya province, included classroom training, weapons instruction and field exercises. All of the graduates were promoted to 3rd sergeant – the equivalent to sergeant in the U.S. Army – upon completion of the course.
“This course was critical to the ABP solving their own professional development needs and reinforces a continued emphasis of development of a professional NCO Corps,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jason Dodge of Stanley, N.Y., HHC, 3rd STB, who helps supervise ABP NCOs.
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