29 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-243

Afghan policemen train for increasing role

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A group of Afghan policemen assembled at Mehtar Lam for training with members of ISAF’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) based in the Laghman provincial capital, March 24.

The training involved classroom instruction on the principles of crowd control and a practical exercise conducted outdoors.  The classes are important to the development of the force as well as the country, said Tech. Sgt. James Shelton, 1st Security Forces Squadron, the instructor of the class.

“Today we are teaching them riot control, responding to civil disturbances and different formations when dealing with those situations,” he added. “It’s important for them to know how to control a crowd if they are being attacked.”

Due to the Afghan National Police’s role in fighting extremists, policemen are sometimes pressed into actions similar to those of soldiers, but it is important that the police maintain the respect of the citizens, Shelton said.

“It’s important because if they have a riot, they need to be organized so they can control and move the crowd without using excessive force,” said Shelton.

The training is key for the transition the police are making as they take on more responsibility for policing the country. Excessive force can have a negative effect on the civilian populace.

The education in civilian policing is crucial, agreed Terry Palmer, a civilian police mentor to the commander of the provincial police.  “There is a big difference in policing a civilian populace and being a military presence, and the military has learned that,” he said.

Although the military is mainly responsible for training the ANP and Afghan National Auxiliary Police, civilian contractors are helping to bring civilian policing expertise through civilian police mentors and ex-officer trainers.

“We focus on the headquarters,” Palmer said. “We mentor the commander of the provincial police. One of our goals is to establish a good system for logistics, inventory and training.

Even with the influx of information and training the officers are receiving, the transition will still take time.  “It’s going to take dedication and it’s going to take time,” said Palmer.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/