08 Nov. 2008
PR# 2008-599

Mentoring the Afghan National Police

Afghan National Police and ISAF soldiers patrol compounds in Zhari District looking for evidence of the placement and manufacturing IEDs.

KABUL, Afghanistan - On the frontier of Zhari District, a partnership between ISAF forces and the Afghan National Police can be found at several Police Sub Stations (PSS). This partnership is a crucial step toward strengthening the Afghan police, mentoring them and enabling their ability to provide essential policing services to the people of Afghanistan.

In late October, a three-member Combat Camera team had the opportunity to visit a PSS in Zhari and witness first-hand the work ISAF Forces do training, mentoring and providing expert advice to the ANP. After conducting two presence patrols and attending training sessions, it became clear that the work being done here was of utmost importance, demonstrating that the ANP are becoming increasingly able to provide autonomous policing services within their community.

In September 2007, while mentoring activities were proving their worth for the Afghan National Army, it became apparent that a similar approach would be required to assist the Afghan National Police to overcome issues of lack of credibility, lack of equipment and to provide mentoring. A sub-unit was created under the Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams know as Police OMLT, or POMLT, and drew upon ISAF forces members from combat arms and military police units. While stationed in these remote outposts alongside the Afghan Uniformed Police, they regularly provide training, conduct joint-presence patrols in the surrounding communities, the maintainance of camp security, and constant liaison with ISAF and ANSF authorities.

Being selected to become a member of the ANP begins through appointment by a village elder, followed by a preliminary screening at the provincial Regional Training Centre (RTC). Selected candidates receive two weeks of police training before they are dispatched to begin policing activities in local communities, and for those who are sent to a PSS in Zhari, they will inevitably be mentored by the POMLT who will build upon their skill sets and bolster their confidence and ability to react to situations they will inevitably face.

According to Sergeant Dave Gratto, the senior military police mentor at a PSS in Zhari District, “The ANP skills have drastically improved over the past year. I’ve found that the more you are willing to teach and show them, the more they see the value and demonstrate the willingness to learn. Once this knowledge is put into practical application their performance becomes exemplary.”

Increased training will be an essential component to building the trust of the Afghans, although one of the other important tasks for the ANP is to maintain a constant presence and dialogue in the local communities to help identify security threats.

“Policing is the biggest link to the community,” added Gratto. In order for the Afghan police to fulfil their duties, he foresees that they will need to improve the level of trust that Afghans have with the ANP. “This level of trust can only be developed through constant dialogue with Afghans, which is why we encourage them to speak to members of the local community at every opportunity. Perhaps the people of Afghanistan will then become more prepared to turn towards the ANP to address security concerns in their area.”

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/