OPTIMISM LEADS DURING AFGHAN STUDENTS’ TRAINING IN DUSHANBEOct 13, 2016
Twenty members of the Afghan Border Police recently met at OSCE headquarters in Dushanbe, Tajikistan for training sponsored by UNDP’s EU-BOMNAF Project. The students were in high spirits throughout the duration of the course, and enjoyed broad discussions on issues ranging from counter-terrorism to inter-agency cooperation. While a healthy level of debate and conversation on each topic arose, ultimately the students were in agreement on the most important aspects of training, which will undoubtedly benefit them as they go forth in their professional careers.
“We need to be loyal to what we do”, remarked one student, receiving nods of approval from his peers, “Trust among brother officers is just as important as coordination among agencies”.
One of the first lessons during the course of the training was regarding emergency first aid administration while under duress, an undoubtedly relevant topic for responding to some of the everyday dangers which accompany this profession. The students somberly recognized the importance of the lesson, many of them already possessing first-hand experience with the scenarios which the exercise sought to address. In between the simulated mayhem however, there arose a sense of camaraderie which continued to grow over the course of the following two weeks.
29 September saw a Taliban-led attack on the Afghan city of Kunduz, which led to concern among several students that their families and property might be in danger and this seemed to lead to a tangible shift of attitudes among many participants.
“Who wins if we fail?” Guest lecturer Lee Williams had posed to the class in the opening week of the course. Their answer, resounding and without hesitation; “The enemy.”
In light of the Taliban attack, however, the hypothetical enemy of the earlier simulations had suddenly become more real. Course participants seemed increasingly eager to take home knowledge which may help them confront an adversary who had—once more—asserted a presence in their own backyard. While the eyes of the students were on Kunduz, however, the minds of the international community were on Afghanistan itself. The simultaneously occurring Brussels Conference on Afghanistan jointly sponsored by the European Union and the Afghan Government, deliberated decisions regarding continued investment into the country. The students were well aware of the implications of the conference and what it could entail for the political, social, and economic future of their homeland.
The atmosphere was hopeful, and students were appreciative of the international community’s firm commitment to continue support to Afghanistan. It was generally agreed that, while financial investment alone may not resolve security or economic issues, the latest four-year plan, essentially a roadmap to success, as laid out by the Afghan government, seems a feasible route towards progress. While only time can tell what the future of Afghanistan will hold, on the smaller scale, twenty ABP Officers will be returning to their jobs, their families, and their lives. Thanks to the investment of EU-BOMNAF, they will return better-trained and better motivated for the critical mission of restoring security to their country’s borders and to the lives of their country’s people.
On the final day of the course, the men embraced warmly and parted like old friends, exchanging contact information and promises to continue communication with each other in the future. Undoubtedly, they will be returning with training and friendships which will serve them well in whatever uncertainty the future may hold.
Mr Sabzali Shukrulloev, BOMNAF Deputy Project Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org