They Are Making A Difference - DoD Roundtable
They Are Making A Difference -Period. Exclamation!
Our service members and their NATO allies are making a difference in Afghanistan according to Maj Gen Stuart Beare of the Canadian Armed Forces. That is how he ended the Roundtable discussion with DoD Bloggers this morning! There is no confusion for those in country why they are there and what their mission is according to the general. General Beare is the Deputy Commander – Police, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A).
I asked the general what was the biggest milestone that had been accomplished in the last couple of months. I was surprised by his quick response: A new Minister of the Interior in July who had experience fighting the Soviets and knew what was required of a leader! In fact, General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi had fired 19 corrupt or incompetent officials since assuming his new role. General Beare had met with him this morning and the discussion centered on how to develop and empower leaders in the Afghan National Police (ANP). He said the Minister had identified clear priorities for the ANP including training and education, leadership development, anti-corruption efforts, taking care of the people, restructuring the ministry and reward and discipline recognition.
General Beare described the Taliban as ruthless killers who dominate some parts of Afghanistan, are present in other areas with some peaceful areas which is the goal for all of Afghanistan. When queried about the ANP role, he explained that they were more security force than law enforcement based on current conditions but the long range plan is to become a totally law enforcement effort. With six branches the ANP combats the insurgents, guards the border, provide civil law enforcement and uniformed officers.
With 120,000 police officers (up from 90,000 last year) the ANP is growing and the key is recruitment and training! Their training program last year produced 10,000 new officers and this year will see 25,000 new officers completing their training. Next year the plan is to grow 50,000 additional officers to meet the demand! While attrition is a key measurement the general said the attrition has improved based on support, leadership and better pay. One component saw a sudden increase in attrition based on extensive combat operations in the southern part of Afghanistan and several factors such as being overworked, not enough NATO partner units and not knowing when they would get a break from the combat. These issues have been resolved and the organization is close to matching the ANP average of about 16% per year.
What of the future and 2011? General Beare again reiterated the impact of our presence in winning the war and ending the insurgency. He said a transition is already occurring with operations becoming less NATO only to joint operations with Afghan forces. We are now with them instead of them watching us. Someday we will be watching them provide security for their own country! In the meantime, “everyone sent there is making a difference” while in country!
If you would like to listen to this interesting Roundtable or read a transcript please go to DoDLive. For other interesting blogs on Afghanistan please go to Our Letters to You – Afghanistan or the MilitaryAvenue Reading Room for additional news.
Photo Credit Maj. Gen. Stuart Beare, Deputy Commander – Police, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A)