30 March 2012
The NZ Defence Force has helped local security forces in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, take another step in their capacity building with the graduation of their first National Police Provincial Quick Response Force (PQRF) platoon.
The PQRF platoon takes part in a live firing demonstration as part of the graduation ceremony activities (20120328_WN_C1022490_0003).
Training the Afghan National Police to take over the role currently performed by NZ Defence Force military patrols is an important part of the transition strategy.
The graduating class of 28 recruits is the initial tranche of what is intended to be a company-strength of over 100 Afghans. Over the next 12 to 18 months this company will be developed by the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) and NZ Police.
Sergeant Justin Carter, a member of the NZPRT team training the PQRF, said he was impressed by the platoon’s progress and their level of commitment and dedication.
"The NZPRT training team recognised very early on the importance of winning the hearts and minds of the policemen we would be training. We formed a very close professional working relationship and bond with our students."
The platoon trained for three months in a number of skill areas from the basics of first aid, navigation, radio communications and weapon handling, to comprehensive training in military tactics in order to defeat insurgent threats and respond to high risk contingencies.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn, said the PQRF has been designed, equipped and trained to be a tactical response capability for Bamyan Province.
"The PQRF are trained to a significantly higher standard in military tactics than routine Afghan National Police," he says. "The development and training of the PQRF has progressed exceptionally well to date, but there is still a long way to go. Continued progress and momentum is required over the next one to two years to fully develop the PQRF capability."
Bamyan was the first Afghan Province to hold a transition ceremony in July 2011, marking the transfer of provincial level security and responsibility back to Afghan control. The NZ Government and the NZ Defence Force are committed to support the transition process to ensure a smooth and measured handover of responsibility.
The NZ Defence Force has played a key role in Bamyan, dating back to 2003 where it led the NZPRT for eight years. The NZPRT is currently led by civilian Director Richard Prendergast, and continues to support long term development, peace and security by facilitating reconstruction and assisting in the provision of a secure environment in Bamyan.