PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Oct. 1, 2010) — When Afghan National Army Military Police Soldiers working at the U.S. Detention Facility in Parwan reported for duty Oct. 1, it marked a significant milestone in their country’s progress assuming responsibility for the facility.
On this day ANA Soldiers assumed the majority of responsibility for one of four detainee housing units at the state-of-the-art theater internment facility, demonstrating an increased capacity in the ANA to take the lead at the DFIP in accordance with an agreement between the Afghan and U.S. governments signed earlier this year.
“We must prove that we are able to do this without help,” said ANA Brig. Gen. Safiullah Safi, commanding general Parwan and Pol-e-Charki Military Police Brigade, to his Soldiers as they prepared for their shift in the DHU. “This is a test for you today and I want you to pass that test. With the help and training you have been given you will be able to perform all of your tasks.”
Afghan government officials signed a memorandum of understanding Jan. 9, 2010, that guides the process for the Ministry of Defense to take responsibility for the Detention Facility in Parwan. In the memo, key ministries agree to identify and assign personnel to staff the facility, working alongside American personnel through the transition process.
According to this agreement, ANA will train, equip and assign the bulk of necessary personnel for the guard force and headquarters staff, with the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Office, National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior assigning key staff to support the facility.
The first cohort of ANA Soldiers began their training in April at the ANA Military Police School at Camp Darulaman, Kabul where they learned basic corrections operations and individual skills. In May, Cohort I reported to the ANA Logistical Support Activity in Parwan to begin the Advanced Individual Training Program, which prepares ANA Soldiers to operate as guards at the DFIP.
“Today is the first day that you are working here on your own,” said Safiullah. “Training is over; we are here to work now. This is a great day for you and for Afghanistan.”
The ANA will conduct daily operations in the DHU. These tasks include over watch, cell searches for contraband, escorting detainees to and from appointments, overseeing recreation, daily hygiene for detainees and meal service.
While the ANA Soldiers will comprise the majority of the guard force in the DHU, U.S. servicemembers will maintain a small presence among their Afghan counterparts until DFIP transition is complete.
“Until we formerly transfer detention operations to the Afghan government we still maintain responsibility for the detainees, so U.S. servicemembers must be present,” said U.S. Army Col. Michael White, deputy commander 46th Military Police Command / Task Force Peacekeeper. Peacekeeper, commanded by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mandi Murray, 46th Military Police Command, provides oversight of detainee operations at the DFIP.
“This represents a significant step toward the conditions-based turnover of the DFIP in accordance with our agreement with the Afghan government,” added White.
The desired end state of the cooperative endeavors is self-sustaining Afghan national detention facilities and Rule of Law (corrections) institutions that are compliant with Afghan and international law.
Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 serves as detention operations advisors in partnership with the Afghan government so detention operations can be transitioned to the Afghan government, in accordance with all applicable international and national laws.
The design of the DFIP allows for safe, humane and effective management of the detainee population, and allows willing detainees to participate in group activities, educational and training programs. The detention facility is equipped with modern medical facilities, an on-site family visitation area, video teleconferencing capability, large recreation areas, vocational-technical training and education classrooms, and additional space to conduct legal proceedings.
Once transferred, the detention facility will be part of a larger Justice Center in Parwan, which will become Afghanistan’s central location for the pre-trial detention and prosecution of suspects as well as for the post-trial incarceration of those who threaten national security.
JTF-435 was activated on Jan. 7, 2010 to assume detention operations in Afghanistan. It transitioned to CJIATF-435 on Sept. 1, 2010. CJIATF-435 includes combined and interagency partners and is commanded by U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward.