By Army Sgt. Stephen Decatur
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 2, 2009 - More than 250 Afghan National Police graduated from basic training Oct. 29 at the police headquarters in Herat, Afghanistan. The graduates were some of the first to be trained in an effort to boost the national police's current strength of 81,000 to 161,000 by 2013, officials said.
The course has been revved up with new instruction on everything from tactics to human rights and physical fitness, said Namatullah, a five-year veteran of the Afghan National Police. At the course's end, every policeman was issued body armor, a helmet and a duffel bag of additional gear.
"We never had equipment like this before," Namatullah noted.
Namatullah said he volunteered to be transferred from his home province of Sari Pul in northern Afghanistan to serve in the more dangerous Nimroz province because he wanted to continue serving to help his countrymen.
"I don't just want a future for my own family," he said. "I want peace for all Afghanistan."
Hafizullah, a 37-year-old native of Afghanistan's Farah province, served as an auxiliary policeman for three years. He said he was eager to receive the new training and equipment.
"I'm really happy to go back to my hometown and serve the people," he said. "I learned a lot of new things. God willing, I will be more prepared."
Another new addition to the national police is 17-year-old Mohammed Daoud. Daoud said he grew up playing cops and robbers with his friends, and that he always has wanted to be a policeman. Joining the police, he added, was a sort of rite of passage to manhood.
"If every young man joined to fight, there would be peace very quickly," he said.
(Army Sgt. Stephen Decatur serves in the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)