Face of Defense: U.S. Soldiers Assist, Train Afghan Police
By Army Sgt. Eric Provost
4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Nov. 7, 2013 With the aid of U.S. soldiers, Afghan police here are making big strides in their professional development and the protection of their country.
Afghan Uniformed Police 2nd Lt. Omar Khan prepares to demonstrate the technique for giving a casualty a nasopharyngeal airway, a plastic tube that helps patients breathe through an obstructed airway, during his combat lifesaver class at the provincial police headquarters in Mehtar Lam in Laghman province, Afghanistan, Nov. 3, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric Provost
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Afghan Uniformed Police officer 2nd Lt. Omar Khan typifies these gains as he transfers the combat life saver skills he learned with coalition forces to his fellow officers in the Afghan Local Police.
In a small red classroom in Laghman’s police headquarters, American soldiers from 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, based at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, have been training the AUP in skills including combat lifesaver techniques. The soldiers are proud to see their students take the lessons they learned and conduct their own classes.
“They took everything we had to teach them; they absorbed it, and now they’re running with it,” said Army Sgt. Bartholomew Murphy III, a medical advisor with 5th Battalion from Syracuse, N.Y.
“I’m just really impressed with them and how well their own class has turned out,” Murphy said of his Afghan students.
Murphy developed the combat lifesaver training for Laghman’s police, including both the skills classes and the train-the-trainer course.
The Afghan students are taught how to set broken bones with splints, how to stop bleeding, how to keep patients breathing correctly, and how to do get the patient to the next level of care.
The trainers’ most important mission has been transferring skills and knowledge to their Afghan counterparts to ensure they can provide security for the Afghan people.
In order to accomplish this, the 5th Battalion’s soldiers ensure their students are proficient in teaching the skills themselves and are able to teach others how to conduct the training.
“That’s really what we see as the next big way ahead for the police here. We want them to be fully self-sufficient. They’re taking big steps toward doing that and they’re doing very well at it,” said Army Capt. Joshua Page, another 5th Battalion medical advisor.
Combat lifesaver skills have been a big focus for the police in Laghman province because they are responsible for the citizens of Afghanistan, as well as for the men to their left and right when they’re patrolling their checkpoints and pulling field duty.
“It’s very important for the police because we are working with the local people in the community,” said Khan, who’s the executive officer for Laghman province’s police training company. “If there are some civilian casualties then we can treat them; and if we don’t have good training then we will not be able to treat the people properly.”
Khan’s class included local police officers from every checkpoint in the province. The plan is for them to share the skills they’ve learned with other police officers in their units.
“I’m feeling great,” Khan said. “All of my guys who I trained got everything and everything was done properly. And when they go back to their checkpoints, I know they’ll be able to treat any casualty.”