KUNDUZ -- The Afghan government over the next four years plans to shift the focus of the Afghan National Police (ANP) from countering armed anti-government elements on the front lines to law enforcement and protection.
The Interior Affairs Ministry has prepared a new policy to achieve this goal by 2024, said Col. Zabardast Safi, commander of the ANP Training Centre (ANPTC) in Kunduz city.
"Unfortunately, engaging in the imposed war has become part of police duties, and our National Police are obliged to retain their presence in the battlefield in addition to undertaking their other responsibilities," he said.
"Police will return to enforcing the law, maintaining security and public safety, detecting crimes, controlling borders, preserving civil rights, guarding civilians' property, defending their liberties and other relevant duties," he said.
"Because of our society's needs, we have trained police in combat skills so that they can succeed on the battlefield as well," said Safi, adding that fighting drug trafficking and organised crime, managing traffic, extinguishing fires and addressing other social problems are part of the ANP's responsibilities.
The police continue to improve their treatment of citizens, which has increased people's trust in the ANP compared to the past, said Mohammad Yusuf Ayubi, chairman of the Kunduz Provincial Council.
"We think that the police have registered unprecedented improvements in their behaviour," he said. "Police officers who have received training respect civilians from various walks of life and treat them in accordance with the the law."
"Everywhere there is an incident, civilians first call police for help, which means police play a key role in society," he said.
Need for professional police force
Society needs the police to return to their main duty of law enforcement, said Kunduz Governor Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal.
"Unfortunately, the National Police were forced to fight shoulder to shoulder with the National Army and National Directorate of Security forces," he said on September 10 during the graduation ceremony of 1,000 police officers from the ANPTC in Kunduz.
"The police are still fighting on the front in addition to enforcing the law," he said. "Police face the heaviest pressure while they have so few resources."
"Our society is in grave need of police," Mirzakwal said. "When they switch from fighting on the battlefield to enforcing law, and they arrest criminals, detect crimes and implement laws, it is obvious that things will improve in society."
"Our police become more and more professional by the day as their skills improve," said Kunduz Police Chief Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani. "I'm confident that they are able to make independent decisions and fulfil any responsibilities that are assigned to them."
"If the [Afghan] National Defence and Security Forces correctly fulfil their responsibilities, security will improve and civilians will be able to cultivate their relationships with security forces," said Maj. Asadullah Quraishi, who previously served in the ANP's 808th Spin Ghar zone in Kunduz Province.
"If our police treat the public politely at checkpoints, it is obvious that civilians will like them and will always support them," he said.
Training new officers
Members of the ANP say they see the benefit in participating in training opportunities.
"The professional training that I received here was very useful," said Sgt. Aliullah Kabiri, a resident of Pul-i-Khumri, Baghlan Province, who graduated from the ANPTC. "This is the first time that I have attended sergeant training."
"The foundations of leadership, behaviour and conduct with the public were among key topics that helped me understand how I should treat civilians whenever I am on duty," he said.
"We should protect our country because it is our homeland," Kabiri added. "I will defend my country to the last drop of my blood."
"I have been serving in the National Police since I graduated from school two years ago," said 2nd Lt. Muhammad Toofan Khaliqi, a resident of Badakhshan Province who graduated from the same training centre. "I joined the ranks of the National Police so that I can protect our borders and serve our people and country."
"Before receiving professional training, I had no knowledge of the laws or fundamentals of policing," he said. "I was a policeman, but I was not a professional, and I was not aware of the laws and regulations set by the government."
"When I enrolled at the ANPTC, I learned many things and received many experiences here," he said. "I will do whatever I can to serve my people and society.