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For Immediate Release
July 9, 2012
Contact: Mark Ray, (540) 667-5705

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Shura prepares Afghan National Police for O&M responsibilities

Helmand province chief of police Col. Abdul Nabi Elham speaks at the opening of the shura. (USACE photo, Mark Ray) KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan— A shura -- or consultative meeting of stakeholders -- in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, laid the groundwork for Afghan National Police units in Helmand and Nimroz provinces to assume responsibility for operating and maintaining their facilities June 28.

Col. Abdul Nabi Elham, Helmand province chief of police, speaking through an interpreter, welcomed the opportunity for Afghan forces to take on the operations and maintenance of their facilities, while acknowledging that the timeline for the transition is ambitious and that there will be significant challenges in training personnel and putting the necessary contracts in place.

Lt. Col. Dominic Cooper, a British Army officer from the Regional Command-Southwest, outlined the transition process. Currently, the international coalition funds contracts for maintenance and operation of Afghan police facilities throughout the RC-SW area of operations. By the end of calendar year 2012, the Afghan forces will assume full responsibility for accomplishing this work through contracts and in-house efforts.

First Lt. Anthony Bastone, from the Regional Support Command-Southwest Infrastructure Training Advisory Group, provided more detail about the types of contracts that the police will need to put in place. Coalition contracts currently cover the full range of operations and maintenance at ANP installations, including:

The Afghan Ministry of Interior will fund long-term and short-term contracts for operations and maintenance services. In addition, local and regional commanders will have considerable capability and funding authority to contract locally for services. Establishing requirements for contracts is a critical element that must begin immediately,

Albert Soliz, chief of South District's Operations and Maintenance Division, discusses O&M training at the shura. (USACE photo, Mark Ray) Bastone said, adding that ITAG will conduct weekly training sessions to educate ANP personnel on the contracting and quality assurance processes.

Although contracts will provide much of the operations and maintenance of police installations, in-house workers will be needed to provide basic O&M services as well as quality assurance for contractors.

Albert Soliz, chief of the Operations and Maintenance Division at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South, which oversees the Afghanistan-wide contract for O&M services at Afghan army and police installations, outlined the program to train police personnel in basic O&M.

Unlike the Afghan National Army, the tashkil, or manning documents, for ANP units do not provide for a dedicated O&M workforce. Instead, the transition plan calls for police personnel to be trained in operations and maintenance as an additional duty. The South District has modified an existing training program for ANA personnel to provide basic training in operations and maintenance to the ANP in an accelerated process. The ANP program envisions a two-month training phase for the police personnel, followed by two months at home station, and then an additional two months of training that would provide more in-depth instruction in O&M functions. Soliz emphasized the importance of ensuring that police with O&M responsibilities attend the entire training program, without being diverted by their normal duties.

After the coalition presentations, representatives from different units of the Afghan police offered their perspective on the transition.

"We welcome the opportunity to take responsibility for our own facilities," said Capt. Satar, from the Afghan Uniform Police, speaking through an interpreter.

"The lack of positions on the tashkil will be a real challenge for us," he said. "Right now, we have only one electrician and one plumber for all of Helmand and Nimroz provinces. Other trades have similar deficits. We also have shortages of tools and materials."

Lt. Col. Rahim, from the Afghan Border Police, echoed Satar's issues. He also raised concerns about fuel for generators, and ensuring contractor performance. However, he also said that the border police welcomed the information provided by the coalition and the opportunity to assume responsibility for operating and maintaining their facilities.

British Army Lt. Col. Dominic Cooper makes final remarks at the shura. (USACE photo, Mark Ray) Cooper closed the shura by reiterating the ambitious timeline for transition and acknowledging the concerns raised by the police representatives. He emphasized the importance of Afghan police fully participating in the upcoming training and offered the support of his office in raising police concerns about the transition to Ministry of Interior officials.

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USACE’s Afghanistan Engineer District-South provides design and construction services throughout southern Afghanistan to support the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. The work is carried out in Regional Commands South, Southwest and West with the goal of achieving counterinsurgency effects and bolstering the Afghan Government’s services to its people.

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