Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gurkhas to mentor Sangin's new police

20 new members of the Afghan National Police who have taken up posts in Sangin will receive continued training and mentoring from soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR).

The 20 new Afghan policemen have received basic training by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces during an eight-week Focused District Development course. Their presence in Sangin almost doubles the number of police officers that had previously been stationed there.

Sangin, located in northern Helmand, was previously one of the most dangerous locations in the whole of Afghanistan but has seen a drop in violence with the construction of a secure governance zone and a growing economic zone.

The arrival of the new police officers was celebrated at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Jackson, the centre of British operations in the area and also from where the Afghan National Police (ANP) and their military counterparts, the Afghan National Army (ANA), operate.

Presenting the police officers with their official warrants outside the Headquarters of the ANP was the combined command of all the units within FOB Jackson. Joining them on parade were representatives from 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 RIFLES) Battle Group, which has command of the area around Sangin; the Police Mentoring Team from 2 RGR; the ANA Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards; and Nick Pounds, the District Stabilisation Advisor.

The Deputy District Chief of Police in Sangin, Commander Nayim, said:

"Though we've had a good parade and we all enjoyed a good ceremony, the new police here are not just for show. They are tough, fighting men and will bring security to the people of Sangin. This is a new day in the fight to bring peace to Afghanistan.

"Now that we have the numbers of police officers of high quality and with good equipment, we'll now be far more able to secure the town of Sangin."

All the officers have been issued new uniforms and new weapons following their training.

Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, Commanding Officer of the 2 RIFLES Battle Group, spoke to the combined security forces present saying:

"We're proud to stand with you and fight, shoulder to shoulder, to work together for the benefit of the people of Sangin. You should be proud of your achievements in training.

"We will now sound the advance, a British tradition, to show us moving forward together against the enemy."

With that, the Battle Group's Bugle Major sounded the advance, and the parade of police officers snapped to attention.

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