Helmand, Afghanistan - ALP graduates march on stage to receive their certificates and patches during a graduation ceremony. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher M. Carroll)
HELMAND, Afghanistan (August 4, 2011) —The District Governor of Nawa, Haji Abdul Manaf, district community council members and Marines visited Marjah recently to discuss a future for Afghan Local Police in Nawa District.
Manaf wanted to find a solution to having more local security in his district. The Afghan Uniformed Police and U.S. Marines have been able to make Nawa one of the safest places in the war-torn country, but a lack of patrolmen still lingers according to Manaf.
Marjah District, which faced a very similar problem, implemented a program allowing local men and women who volunteer to become a part of Afghan security forces to serve in their local areas. The ALP has “thrived in Marjah for that very reason,” said the Police Advisory Team leader for 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Capt. Brett Taylor.
“Right now, we have the Afghan Uniformed Police, but basically if you join the police here in Nawa you can be transferred anywhere here in the country,” said Taylor, a native of Troy, Michigan. “It’s a federal police system. So, what we’re trying to build is the Afghan Local Police, which gives local volunteers the opportunity to stay close to home.”
What this means is those who are recruited in the local area of Nawa would stay here and work for the local police chief. The ALP is also locally trained, supplied, and paid by the Afghan government.
Marjah was approved for 400 ALP and currently has around 300 spread out across the district. They work alongside the AUP and Marines to help with security in their local towns and villages.
Manaf, his district community council members, and local elders made the trip out to Marjah to help drum up support for an ALP program in their area. They arranged a shura, or community meeting, to discuss with their counterparts in Marjah how the program is run and what they will need to have success with the program in Nawa.
Taylor said the shura was a real success and they were able to see an ALP model, their training, and uniforms.
“Right now it looks like its going very well. Hopefully within the next month or two we’ll be able to start recruiting and training ALP,” explained Taylor. “This will increase the number government security forces within Nawa to help them be one of the first districts of transition into standing security on their own.”
The District Chief of Police, 2nd Lt. Haji Ahmad Shah, said he believes his patrolmen are ready to take full responsibility of Nawa and the ALP would be a great addition.
“It was a great meeting. It was good to see that the Afghan Local Police are helping [Afghan National Security Forces] in Marjah bring peace and security,” said Shah. “Now they’re able to provide security and prevent any enemy activities, which is what we want to see in Nawa.”