KUNDUZ -- Kunduz police officers are receiving literacy training aimed at improving their professionalism and building the trust and confidence of residents.
More than 35,000 police officers who joined the force between 2013 and 2019 from Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces have graduated from this training programme, said Col. Zabardast Safi, commander of the Afghan National Police Training Centre in Kunduz.
"Fifty percent of these graduates were illiterate," he said. "After completing literacy courses, they were redeployed to various detachments and units of the Ministry of Interior in their respective provinces."
"Literacy courses are part of the professional police training at this centre, where police cadets receive literacy training alongside their operational police training," he said.
"During their eight-month police training, police cadets receive two hours of literacy training each day," he added.
Lessons of (Islamic) belief and culture, police behaviour in society, police conduct and social relations are also part of the learning programmes, said Safi.
"These cadets also are taught Islamic teachings and the Prophet's messages," he said. "With all these lessons our cadets receive, we are delivering great police officers to society."
"Most of the cadets, who were illiterate, are now able to read and write, and this can help them build trust among members of society," Safi noted.
"Every year, this centre trains and graduates more than 1,000 soldiers, sergeants and officers from the four northeastern provinces," he said. "Last solar year, we had more than 1,000 graduates who joined the police force."
Establishing friendly relations
A number of cadets at the Kunduz Police Training Centre say that their lessons have helped them and they are content that they now can read and write.
"I didn't have any literacy in the beginning," said Sgt. Sayed Rasool Amiri, a police officer in Kunduz. "I attended literacy lessons for two months at the centre and one year at our base. Now, it's God's mercy that I learned how to read and write with the help of these courses."
"Islamic education, belief and cultural lessons, the Koran and other Islamic subjects are also taught at the centre by experienced teachers and religious scholars," he said.
"A literate officer can establish friendly relations with civilians," he added. "They trust a professional and educated police officer."
"I am really happy that I am confident after receiving professional lessons and skills," said 1st Lt. Lailuma Haqkhwa, 31, an officer in a domestic-violence unit at the Kunduz police department.
"I learned various professional lessons for eight weeks," she said. "Our teachers taught us things that we need every day on duty. They are really helpful."
"Policewomen are undeniably needed in the police ranks, and they have to be supported," she added.
'An unprecedented change'
"We've noticed that our security forces, especially police, treat civilians really well," said Enayatullah Khaliq, director of a civil society organisation in Kunduz Province. "They give everyone -- the elderly, youth, children, women and men --equal treatment."
"Friendly relations between police and civilians bring the public and the government closer to each other, and civilians build trust in such security forces and co-operate with them with regard to various issues," he said. "We want more of our security forces to receive training so that we can see the police officers enforce the law."
"We see that the police forces are treating civilians better and better by the day, and they have started to trust these officers," said Mohammad Yusuf Ayubi, chairman of the Kunduz provincial council. "Every day when I go to work, I see our soldiers help the elderly, the blind, children and women cross the road."
"We feel there is an unprecedented change in police behaviour," said Abdurrahman Qaderi, one of the tribal elders in Kunduz Province. "The trained police respect the elderly, and they treat the public according to the law."
"I've witnessed most of the cadets who graduated from the police training centre last year work at police stations and checkpoints and in police units, and they act more professionally than the other police forces," he said.