Leaders Work to Develop Afghan National Police
By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2010 NATO trainers and Afghan leaders working with the Afghan National Police are working on ways to expand leadership development thorough an increase in instructional courses and mentoring programs, the officer in charge of the effort said this week.
“[We are] investing in leaders and leadership, and not just by training them, but by operating alongside them to create the space and the opportunity for them to emerge,” said Canadian Forces Maj. Gen. Stuart Beare, deputy commander for police with NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, during an Oct. 5 “DOD Live” bloggers roundtable.
Beare said Afghanistan’s new interior minister, Gen. Besmillah Mohammadi Khan, created a six-priority agenda to deliver to all levels of his ministry. The agenda’s first priority, he said, is training and education.
“It’s putting Afghans in a leadership role and in a position of responsibility and authority to train and educate themselves,” he said.
Another priority is revamping leadership. In the past four weeks the interior minister has changed out 19 of his senior officials. Half of that number, Beare said, were considered incompetent or were suspected of corruption. To improve leadership, Beare explained, the goal was to remove the less competent officials and bring more skilled and trustworthy people into the positions.
Beare also said the new minister is focusing on eliminating corruption within the national police force, taking care of his forces with better food and lodging, rewarding officers who follow the rules and disciplining those who don’t. In addition, he is restructuring the ministry to separate responsibilities and authorities in a way that doesn't give one person too much power and another person none.
The Canadian general said he has seen a significant shift in the last two months as the interior minister’s agenda has been implemented.
The national police have five types of officers, Beare said: uniformed police, border police, civil order police, special police units and public protection forces. Because of the different duties of each force, he said, the ministry offers two forms of training to create a stronger force.
In the institutional training base, a police officer would become a patrolman after going through the recruiting process and being drug-tested and vetted through biometrics, he said. Community-based officers go through a local council to make sure the community would accept them, he added.
After that process, the general explained, officers are sent to a base for training in police skills and literacy. After they graduate, they’re partnered with other officers to learn in a hands-on environment.
“They continue to be developed by virtue of the example, working alongside others as they do their business,” Beare said.
Leadership, the general said, is one of the keys to success for the Afghan National Police.
“I've been watching this mission for a lot of years, coming and going,” he said. “The most significant change in terms of the assumption of a genuine responsibility and accountability to lead their own people, in particular, in the security ministries, has been in the last year. Where you see folks that have [the] will, amazing things get done.”