By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Douglas Mappin
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 22, 2008 - Two months ago, the 200 men standing at attention before their leaders were students preparing for the Focused District Development police training course. Under a hot Afghan sun Sept. 16, the graduates now stood ready to serve as fully trained guardians of their respective communities. Army Col. Stephen G. Yackley, deputy to the Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan commanding general for police development combined security, told the FDD graduates they will deliver on the promise of bringing stability to Afghanistan's districts.
"You bring much to your communities. You bring hope," Yackley said. "You bring hope that your people will be able to live in peace and security. I know you will do well as policemen back in your districts, and your people are very proud of your accomplishments."
This group reported to the Konduz Regional Training Center in July. While they were undergoing training, members of the Afghanistan National Civil Order Police protected their home communities.
The goal of the program is to take Afghan National Police from their home communities, train and equip them, and return them home as a professional police force to protect and serve their people, free of the corruption that has plagued the Afghan National Police in the past.
The students received new uniforms, gear, medical screenings and most importantly, training that would teach them to become a trustworthy police force. Classroom training included topics such as Afghan law, police ethics and leadership.
For this graduating class, two members received a first-time award, the Col. Quayum Leadership Award, named after a former FDD student who was killed by a suicide bomber in July.
Graduates Capt. Amandullah of the Konduz's Iman Sahip district and Mohammed Ishaq of the Andar district accepted the award from their instructors.
"This certificate means we are doing a good job," Ishaq said. "We learned a great deal here and hope to take that back to our provinces. I am proud to receive this award."
Amandullah, a 24-year veteran of his police department, agreed with his fellow graduate's assessment. He said their training would help them be better police officers when they return home.
"We received much more training than we have ever had before," Amandullah said. "We learned more about using our weapons, and our American instructors' teachings were a great improvement from the past."
Amandullah said he looked forward to returning home to his district so that he could use what he has learned at the training center.
"This will be useful when we return home and we can help teach our new recruits," Amandullah said. "We want to make a difference in our communities."
Ishaq said the training their American mentors provided will make all the difference for the future of the Afghan National Police.
"We are a new police," he said.
"Bryan will never be forgotten by all those who were honored to have known him," McDonough said. "His legacy will live on in many ways, including the Bryan McDonough American Heroes Golf Classic."