Afghans, NATO Partners Build Trust in Uruzgan Province
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 3, 2010 Uruzgan province officials recently opened an Afghan National Police substation near Golkhaneh village to provide the population a tangible symbol of government near the Tangi valley, an area of insurgent activity.
The substation, a permanent police post with a vantage point over the provincial capital of Tarin Kowt, has facilities for 40 policemen.
It is the fourth of 10 planned police substations which contribute to the increasing professionalism of the Afghan National Police and the building of greater trust between residents and the Afghan government in this southern province, according to Dutch Brigadier Kees Van den Heuvel, Task Force Uruzgan commander.
"Better trained and professional policemen on the streets will increase security," Van den Heuvel said.
Providing increased security, something asked for during nearly every discussion with local Afghan leaders, also builds the Afghans' faith in the government to provide them with protection, according to Army 1st. Lt. Phil Cerami, who works with the Tarin Kowt District Afghan police.
"Coalition forces [Dutch and US] working with the ANP is important to show our commitment to the improvement and development of this province," Cerami said. "What is more important is that they are the ones who will be here throughout the future.
"For the residents to see their friends and family taking responsibility for their safety as ANP, it sheds some light on how much progress can be made in a short period of time as long as we work together," Cerami added.
Deputy Civilian Representative Johan Verboom attended the substation opening. Verboome said security is the cornerstone of development.
"If it is safe on the streets, kids can go to school and they have a future," he said. "Dutch forces will leave here, but ISAF will stay and help with the further development of Uruzgan."
American paratroopers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, are responsible for the mentoring and advising of the Afghan National Police posted in Uruzgan.
The mentors gave praise to the ANP and local leaders during the opening ceremony.
"Your role in security often goes unrecognized -- none of this would be possible without you and your support," Army Capt. John Thomas, commander of Company D, told local Afghan leaders. "We are here to help make this great country and proud people feel safe so that your children can have a brighter future. I am honored to work with the ANP and be a part of your lives, and I thank you for your support."
Thomas said he and his troops will continue to assist the policemen at the substation and help build capacity with the ANP on various skills including patrolling, security/defensive operations, and community policing techniques.
"The key aspect of the mission is to facilitate the growth of a self-sustaining force that performs more like police and less like military," Thomas said. "The residents want them there and the ANP on the ground have the opportunity to build relationships and connect with the people."