By Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr.
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 8, 2008 - Afghan and American leaders celebrated the grand opening of a new facility for training Afghan National Civil Order Police here yesterday. Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Zarar Moqbal and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, participated in a grand opening ceremony then toured the Herat province facility with other CSTC-A and Afghan National Police personnel.
The opening of the Adreskan training center "means a greater capacity to train ANCOP, especially out here in the west," said Army Col. Mark Russo, Regional Police Advisory Team West commander.
Afghans and Americans at the grand opening said the new facility is more than just a new training ground. It also is a symbol that the national police and the Afghan government are serious about providing for the security and protection of Afghans throughout their country, explained Army Sgt. 1st Class Christian Leva, team sergeant for Team Enforcer Police Mentor Team.
Local community leaders respond favorably to the national police having a training ground in Adreskan, Leva said. Building the facility had a positive influence on the local economy by providing jobs here, he added.
Also, many Afghans previously would only see the national policemen while they were patrolling or conducting missions seeking insurgents in the villages and districts, Leva said. Having a training center in Adreskan means ANCOP and other ANP will receive local training, and additional police in Herat province will reduce response time to insurgent and other criminal activities, he noted.
The school opens with two classes: an ANCOP class of 343 students and an Afghan National Auxiliary Police sustainment class of 86 policemen. The ANAP will have the opportunity to become regular ANP upon graduation of a three-week course, said Air Force Col. Lansen P. Conley, CSTC-A ANP Integration Branch chief.
Afghan National Police Maj. Abdul Wasee, an ANCOP instructor, said he looks forward to teaching at the new facility, and that it will help to turn even more Afghans into productive citizens for their country.
During a news conference after a tour of the Adreskan training center, Cone said the new facility is important, but patriotic Afghan police who are trained in Adreskan are even more important. "They have stepped forward to take on the insurgents," he said.
The Adreskan ANCOP training center includes five classroom buildings, several billeting facilities, dining centers and a large firing range. ANP personnel will run the ANCOP training center, and CSTC-A personnel will advise the staff.
(Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr. serves with Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan Public Affairs.)