Leaders Work to Develop Afghan National Police

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2010 — NATO train­ers and Afghan lead­ers work­ing with the Afghan Nation­al Police are work­ing on ways to expand lead­er­ship devel­op­ment thor­ough an increase in instruc­tion­al cours­es and men­tor­ing pro­grams, the offi­cer in charge of the effort said this week.

“[We are] invest­ing in lead­ers and lead­er­ship, and not just by train­ing them, but by oper­at­ing along­side them to cre­ate the space and the oppor­tu­ni­ty for them to emerge,” said Cana­di­an Forces Maj. Gen. Stu­art Beare, deputy com­man­der for police with NATO Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan, dur­ing an Oct. 5 “DOD Live” blog­gers round­table.

Beare said Afghanistan’s new inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Gen. Besmil­lah Moham­ma­di Khan, cre­at­ed a six-pri­or­i­ty agen­da to deliv­er to all lev­els of his min­istry. The agenda’s first pri­or­i­ty, he said, is train­ing and edu­ca­tion.

“It’s putting Afghans in a lead­er­ship role and in a posi­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ty and author­i­ty to train and edu­cate them­selves,” he said.

Anoth­er pri­or­i­ty is revamp­ing lead­er­ship. In the past four weeks the inte­ri­or min­is­ter has changed out 19 of his senior offi­cials. Half of that num­ber, Beare said, were con­sid­ered incom­pe­tent or were sus­pect­ed of cor­rup­tion. To improve lead­er­ship, Beare explained, the goal was to remove the less com­pe­tent offi­cials and bring more skilled and trust­wor­thy peo­ple into the posi­tions.

Beare also said the new min­is­ter is focus­ing on elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion with­in the nation­al police force, tak­ing care of his forces with bet­ter food and lodg­ing, reward­ing offi­cers who fol­low the rules and dis­ci­plin­ing those who don’t. In addi­tion, he is restruc­tur­ing the min­istry to sep­a­rate respon­si­bil­i­ties and author­i­ties in a way that does­n’t give one per­son too much pow­er and anoth­er per­son none.

The Cana­di­an gen­er­al said he has seen a sig­nif­i­cant shift in the last two months as the inte­ri­or minister’s agen­da has been imple­ment­ed.

The nation­al police have five types of offi­cers, Beare said: uni­formed police, bor­der police, civ­il order police, spe­cial police units and pub­lic pro­tec­tion forces. Because of the dif­fer­ent duties of each force, he said, the min­istry offers two forms of train­ing to cre­ate a stronger force.

In the insti­tu­tion­al train­ing base, a police offi­cer would become a patrol­man after going through the recruit­ing process and being drug-test­ed and vet­ted through bio­met­rics, he said. Com­mu­ni­ty-based offi­cers go through a local coun­cil to make sure the com­mu­ni­ty would accept them, he added.

After that process, the gen­er­al explained, offi­cers are sent to a base for train­ing in police skills and lit­er­a­cy. After they grad­u­ate, they’re part­nered with oth­er offi­cers to learn in a hands-on envi­ron­ment.

“They con­tin­ue to be devel­oped by virtue of the exam­ple, work­ing along­side oth­ers as they do their busi­ness,” Beare said.

Lead­er­ship, the gen­er­al said, is one of the keys to suc­cess for the Afghan Nation­al Police.

“I’ve been watch­ing this mis­sion for a lot of years, com­ing and going,” he said. “The most sig­nif­i­cant change in terms of the assump­tion of a gen­uine respon­si­bil­i­ty and account­abil­i­ty to lead their own peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar, in the secu­ri­ty min­istries, has been in the last year. Where you see folks that have [the] will, amaz­ing things get done.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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