An Afghan Uniformed Police cadet stands watch at the Kabul Police Academy, Kabul, Afghanistan, while other cadets attend scheduled classes, Jan. 6, 2013. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David J. Overson)
KABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The Afghan Uniformed Police force continues to grow day-by-day with fresh, young, and idealistic cadets hitting the streets and protecting the civilian population of Afghanistan.
However, first they must learn the in’s and out’s of being an AUP officer at police academies throughout Afghanistan. At the Kabul Police Academy, they have a course for noncommissioned officers that runs approximately six months and officer courses that last approximately four years.
Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs Deputy Ministry of Administration, Maj. Gen. Mahshooq Ahmad, said their primary goal is to graduate officers from the four year program, but many of the cadets want to become NCOs so they can start earning a paycheck much sooner.
Cadets are provided room and board, health care and uniforms, but a very small stipend, which is not enough to support a family. Ahmad says that is one of their largest obstacles across Afghanistan to convince the cadets to stay in the full four year program.
The requirements to become an AUP officer are similar to the requirements to join the U.S. military. The cadets need to be high school graduates, pass a drug and criminal background check, be physically fit and pass an entrance exam before they’re enrolled into the academy.
According to Ahmad, there are 13 academies across Afghanistan, with approximately 12,000 cadets enrolled at any given time.
Unfortunately though, another obstacle the academies face is recruiting female cadets. According to Ahmad, there are only about 250 female officers throughout Afghanistan, and this is one of their highest priorities in the future to improve upon.
Ahmad said, “This is a big problem, the majority of Afghans do not want their daughters to go to a military college. Though in time, I think we can overcome this problem.”
The general commander of the Kabul Police Academy, Prof. Gen. Sayed Noorullah Zal, has worked at the academy for 32 years and has seen a lot of changes and improvements during this time.
“I love seeing my former students go on to become high ranking officials in Afghanistan, it is very rewarding,” said Zal.