KABUL (Nov. 5, 2010) — The old saying “like father, like son,” is as true in Afghanistan as it is in the United States. Sherwali Hakmal, 45, and his son, Javeed, 19, are from the village of Colman in the Alingar District of Laghman province.
Both graduated from the Laghman province police academy class Thursday at police headquarters in Mehtar Lam. The six-week class marked the first time a province has hosted its own police academy.
“When Javeed was a little boy he would tell me, ‘Dad, please take me to the police station,’” Sherwali recalled with a smile. “He knew then he wanted to be a police officer.”
Sherwali said at the time it was too dangerous to bring his son to the station, due to the threat of the Taliban. In fact, for eight years, while the country fell under Taliban rule, Sherwali and his family fled to the mountains of Pakistan. Sherwali worked as a migrant farmer during that time. The same day the Taliban government was replaced, Sherwali said he returned with his family from the mountains.
Sherwali, a veteran officer with 20 years experience, said he was pleased with his son’s performance in the police academy.
“He did well at drill and formation and the other tasks,” Sherwali said. “In fact, I want to be the kind of police officer he is.”
Javeed’s pride in his profession was evident when he spoke.
“I came down here with my father to work for my country and to be in service of my compatriots,” he said.
Javeed said he plans to continue his training at the year-long academy in Kabul to become a more specialized officer. His father, meanwhile, will travel back to Alingar and will switch from investigative work to a role more in the intelligence field.
He said his time as a police officer is coming to an end, so he is pleased to see Javeed carry on his legacy. Sherwali also had seven other sons, but said none have expressed interest in police work yet.
“They have to choose their own paths,” he said.
But for a while, at least, both Sherwali and Javeed will be policing Afghanistan together, fighting the Taliban forces that once drove them from their home.