Joint Multinational Readiness Center hosts exercise to instruct Afghan police

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Nov. 23, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center is helping to improve the partnership and skills of U.S., Danish and Afghan security forces by hosting its first Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Team training event.

The POMLT is designed to train Afghan civilian police officers in skills that will help them to perform their law enforcement duties while simultaneously training and mentoring the NATO forces that will deploy to Afghanistan to instruct them in those skills.

The training has another facet as well. While the Danish military police soldiers help the Afghan police officers to improve their skills, the Afghans teach the Danes about some of the challenges the NATO troops will face when they deploy.

The two-week training, which began November 9, consists of two portions. First was classroom instruction during which POMLT students learned the fundamentals of police skills and Afghan law.

“The classroom skills are focused on the policing skills, the Afghan rule of law and the Afghan way of conducting police operations,” said Capt. Samuel Meyer, an observer-controller trainer with JMRC’s “Raptor” team.

The second portion of the POMLT consists of field exercises designed to allow students to put their classroom skills to practical use.

The training culminates in a series of situational training exercise (STX) lanes that give the Danes a chance to mentor the Afghan police officers through realistic scenarios they might face in Afghanistan, said Meyer.

“The most important thing today is that they actually do what we’ve spent the last couple of days learning, with us standing right by their side,” said Danish 1st Lt. Steen Christensen during a round of hands-on POMLT training. “They need to show us that they can do it without us telling them what to do.”

One portion of the field event focused on survival training that helped build combat skills necessary to operate in a counterinsurgency environment.

“We teach the tactical classes; the COIN (counterinsurgency) classes; react to direct fire; react to indirect fire; the battle drills,” said Meyer.

During their STX lanes training the Afghan police officers put their classroom and survival skills to use during a joint cordon-and-search mission that briefly combined two JMRC training events. Romanian troops taking part in separate Operational Mentor and Liaison Team training and Czech forces role-playing as a foreign military force in that OMLT training supported the POMLT lanes training by setting up a cordon around a mock village.

The POMLT training participants then conducted a search of the village for two suspected insurgents and collected evidence that helped uncover a nearby weapons cache.

The information on the cache was passed to the Romanian and Czech troops in the cordon, who blocked the suspects’ escape and sent a force that secured the cache after a short engagement with insurgent forces.

Mayer said training Afghan police is a key component of building the country’s security and helps move Afghanistan closer to the day when it will take full responsibility for its own defense.

“Without a legitimate strong police force Afghanistan or Iraq or any other country we go to aren’t going to be able to accomplish the mission,” he said.