PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan— Afghan Uniform Policemen stand in formation adjacent to their trainers from the 554th Military Police Company, 172nd Infantry Brigade during the Police Combined Action Team graduation at Combat Outpost Zerok, Nov. 11. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joseph Buccino, TF Blackhawk PAO)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (November 20, 2011) — Yar Mohamnad heard his name and realized that this was a defining moment.
Mohamnad, along with 31 other Afghan Uniform Policemen from the districts of Zerok and Naka, graduated from AUP training Nov. 18.
The three-week course, taught by Soldiers of the 554th Military Police Company, focused students on assessing, protecting, advising, assisting, and improving police capabilities to secure the population at the local level.
For Mohamnad, the honor graduate for the Police Combined Action Team, receiving his certificate from Afghan Brig. Gen. Dawlat Khan, commander of the AUP in Paktika province, this was a significant step.
The PCAT program represented both an expansion on the fundamentals taught at the basic AUP patrolmen’s course and an introduction to modernized policing techniques.
The first two weeks were spent in a classroom environment focused on principles foreign to the remote reaches of the country, such as crime investigation, evidence collection, and the constitutional rights of citizenry.
In an effort to evolve the students’ understanding of human rights and ethics, the U.S. instructors developed practical exercises based on actual recent events. The final week was spent conducting partnered patrolling in the districts of Naka and Zerok, with a focus on local policing with an appropriate balance between violence and discretion.
“We knew how to patrol in this area,” said Mohamnad. “What we learned is how to treat the people and how to do our mission without embarrassing the villagers.”
This increased awareness for the appropriate use of force and respect for basic rights are what the Afghan government and Coalition trainers believe will hold areas such as Naka and Zerok after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“The terrorists are not Afghans,” said Dawhlat Khan, highlighting the importance of respecting the population in order to shut off potential opening for insurgents. “You are Afghans. Do not disturb your Afghan brothers or they may turn to the terrorists for security.”