Royal Marines based in Sangin have opened a new police training centre for the Afghan National Police that they are training and mentoring.
The men of 40 Commando Royal Marines have built the new training centre inside the walls of Forward Operating Base Jackson where they are based.
It is intended that about a dozen Aghan policemen will rotate through the foundation and advanced training courses each week learning drills for countering improvised explosive devices, first aid, searching techniques, patrolling drills and checkpoint drills, and also more advanced subjects such as forensics.
The enabling of the Afghan Security Forces, is a key part of NATO’s strategy in Afghanistan. The sooner the Afghans can take responsibility for their own security and carry out security operations without the need for ISAF support, ensuring the long-term security and stability of the country, the sooner British forces can come home.
As part of the training and mentoring the Marines do with the Afghans they also go out on the ground with the Afghan Police, patrolling in Sangin bazaar and helping to man the checkpoints in the Sangin district.
Captain Dom Rogers of 40 Commando, Royal Marines said:
We need more checkpoints. But we can’t open new checkpoints until we have more men. So we have to be patient. But in the meantime we are making sure that the officers we have are as highly trained as possible.
New police officers are arriving in Sangin every week now, fresh out of training college, at a rate of about a dozen a time. They are essential to ensuring security in Sangin.
MOD police trainer, Sergeant Andy Gaunt said:
The more police we can get the more that frees up the ANA [Afghan National Army] to move into the Green Zone while the ANP secure the towns and villages.
All of the police checkpoints in Sangin are partnered, meaning that British and Afghans work side by side to protect the population.
One new checkpoint has just been erected on the edge of the bazaar, monitoring traffic going in and out.
A recruitment bureau in the centre of Sangin is also being opened to encourage locals to become policemen.
One of the checkpoint commanders, Mohammed Khan, said:
We have a good connection with the locals and the local community, especially the people who are in the peaceful area where we have our checkpoints.
We are happy with all those people and they are also happy with us. We are trying to encourage all those people who are in the enemies’ area to talk to us and keep up a connection with them.
The Chief of Police in Sangin, Lieutenant Colonel Ghulie Khan, said the improving relations between the ANP and the Afghan people was a direct result of the International Security Assistance Force training and the hard work of 40 Commando, who took over the task in April 2010 from 3 Rifles Regiment:
Now they are well trained they can get the confidence of the locals. All the locals in Sangin are tired of the Taliban and the Taliban activities. They don’t want any more damage in Sangin,” said Lt Col Khan.