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NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Fifty-one men stood smiling, waiting for the certificates that would recognize them as the first graduates of a border police course administered entirely by Afghans.
After four months of classes and more than two weeks of testing, June 7 was a proud day for those graduating from the Afghan Border Police’s Noncommissioned Officer Course at Zone 1, East ABP Headquarters in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
“Today is a very important day for the new NCOs as well as the ABP,” said Maj. Adam C. Reichart, of Smithville, Mo., an advisor from 205th Military Police Battalion, Task Force Bastogne. “These classes were all ABP run and well put together.”
All of the young Afghan men volunteered and tested to become border police officers. Their education levels varied from high school freshman-level education to college graduates. One volunteer had an advantage when it came to the ABP’s teachings.
“The classes were not hard for me because I am from a militia family,” said Sgt. Shari Fullah, age 26, who achieved the highest honors in the class. “My father, my uncle, all of them, they are military. But the guys who come from a civilian (background), it’s a little hard for them.”
Instructors handpicked by the ABP trained the NCOs in subjects such as police tactics, improvised explosive devices, criminal tactics, police operations and logistics.
“I am happy to work as a teacher for the military for 31 years,” said Maj. Malang Jan, an instructor at the NCO course. “I have a lot of experience and enjoy my job.”
About 15 months ago, the ABP didn’t have any matching uniforms. That was until the Embedded Transition Team stepped in and provided the ABP with uniforms similar to the Army and the Air Force. The new uniforms displayed professionalism, encouraging more people to join.
One of the hardships the border police face is constant attacks against their outposts. As a result, the ABP often see more combat than any other Afghan National Security Force entity.
Reichart concluded his commencement speech with advice for the NCOs.
“You are going to be going to units that are involved with ambushes, fighting, smuggling in a very busy time of the year,” said Reichart. “You need to listen to the trainers, those people already trained in those areas as well as the soldiers who have already been in the area. They have some great experience,” he said.
“You need to work together to form a good team. You have learned a lot of things in the past several months. You are now leaders in your unit. Don’t take this great responsibility lightly,” said Reichart. “Soldiers and future leaders will look to you to guide them and lead them the right way.”
The ABP are responsible for securing a 5,529-kilometer border and international airports, and administering Afghanistan’s customs regulations and the immigration process. The new graduates expressed eagerness to start their jobs.
“If you ask the NCOs where they want to go, they say they want to go to the border, they want to fight the enemy, they are ready to serve Afghanistan,” said Jan.
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