Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:06 AM
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ready to complete the transformation they began more than a month earlier, Afghan National Police recruits packed into a small building at Training Support Site Costell near Spin Boldak on the Afghan/Pakistan border. Entering the building as recruits, they exited as Afghan Uniform Patrolmen after receiving their certificates.
The 164 graduates of the Uniform Police Basic Course completed classes on use of force, human rights, emergency response, traffic law, civil disturbance, basic foot patrol and firearms.
At the graduation were instructors and generals, both Afghan and coalition, witnesses to Afghanistan’s newest policemen and some of the faces that will make a difference in the war. Just as “strategic sergeants” and “strategic captains” turn big ideas in counterinsurgency operations into reality for the army, these Afghans will be strategic policemen who will play a key role in Afghanistan’s future.
“Afghanistan needs police that are brave, that are professional and that are honest,” said Canadian Army Brig. Gen. Craig King, director of future plans for Regional Command South. “It needs a police that will protect the people.”
Closer to the people than any politician, policemen are the face of the capital government, the basis of local security and law as well as the first line of protection from those who would do harm to Afghan communities. As time passes, it will be the honorable or dishonorable actions of policemen that will make the difference.
“Today’s the day that you move from being a citizen to a protector,” said Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, NATO Training Mission–Afghanistan commander. “Your army is there to protect the nation but you are here to protect the people.”
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