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Afghanistan Uniform Police Graduate 84 New Recruits

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan uniform police bolstered its force by 84 new officers following graduation from the Joint Security Academy Shorabak at Camp Leatherneck. This graduation illustrates the progress that Afghanistan is making toward gradually taking full responsibility for its own security.



Courtesy Story
Date: 04.13.2010
Posted: 04.13.2010 10:50
By Petty Officer 1st Class Charles A. Isom, Jr.

JSAS is a U.S. Marine-driven academy designed to train both Afghan Army and police personnel for the Afghan National Security Forces. The fast-paced, eight-week training program offers basic training, as well as advanced training in leadership and technical skills.

"I am very happy I graduated from the academy, it was a very good experience for me and I learned a lot of things," said Abdul Ghani Khaksar, a graduating police recruit.

One of the primary mission objectives of JSAS is to assist the Afghan national security forces with increasing the number of police officers within Task Force Leatherneck, and the Helmand Province, to establish better security, stability and the rule of law in in local communities.

"These students, with the help of a specially selected staff of Marines, have met the standards that overcome the challenges of the highest quality instruction available to them," said Gunnery Sgt. Cody L. Harding, academy first sergeant.

The Marines worked hard to instill pride and patriotism in the new recruits. At the heart of it all, the basic lesson learned was professionalism.

"The instructors were trying to make us professionals ... now I am a professional [officer], I can go to my home and serve my people," said Khaksar.

The road to becoming a member of the ANSF requires a commitment to personal health and fitness, a desire to learn established policing tactics and adherance to the rule of law.

Recruits are medically screened and given a physical fitness assessment. In the early days of training, learning objectives focus on established policing methods, ethics, the rule of law according to the Afghan Constitution, and weapons familiarization.

"Basic ethics classes are provided to the students to eliminate corruption in the Afghan police forces as much as possible," said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Morh, Academy gunnery sergeant. "Our goal is to give them the background to help them become more reliable and trustworthy police officers," he said.

According to Harding, JSAS modified its curriculum to better train the Afghan police officers. Instructors are focused on developing a well-trained force of professional peace officers who, depending on their level of training, may serve alongside NATO forces and the Afghan national security forces.

The Marines now provide more firearms demonstrations and assess recruits understanding of the learning objectives, especially with regards to ethical issues.

"Now we're giving them a formula, a survivability element for more success," said Morh. "Because of this training, I believe police corruption will decrease," he said.

Recruits must demonstrate proficiency with weapons safety and proper weapons handling skills with the ANSF's weapon of choice – the AK-47. The recruits must also complete range qualifications prior to being taught advance weapons education by the Marines. Advanced training builds on the fundamentals of shooting and provides scenario training to handle situations commonly found in urbanized areas and the battlefield; so that recruits know how to operate between the two possible situations.

"In the past, the extent of training a police officer received was basically, here is your weapon, your badge and what area to patrol... and good luck," said U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Shilansky, the Range Chief.

The last two weeks of the course builds on the principle learning objectives and recruits learn advanced patrolling, shooting, police survivability and policing skills.

The training is considered a real partnership between the Afghan instructors from the National Police Academy in Kabul and U.S. Marines. Instructors placed special emphasis on teaching modern and proven police tactics to the recruits such as how to conduct effective searches, making an arrest, shooting while minimizing exposure in the line of fire, and community policing.

"The Afghans perform the majority of police training because they speak the local languages, while the Marines are the overseers and provide mentoring," said Morh. "When it comes to Corps Values and Ethics though, the Marines take the lead," he stated.

The ceremony honored the 84 recruits for passing all of their learning objectives and signified the beginning of a new era for the recruits in that they are now part of an Afghan security force that comes from different cultural or tribal backgrounds and is joined together to protect all Afghan citizens. For those in attendance at the ceremony, there was a sense of pride for the new Afghan police as evidenced by a look of accomplishment and respect in the faces of the Afghan police officers.

"The pride seemed to develop very quickly in eight short weeks," said Morh.