Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Travels Begin

The last 10 days have been a whirlwind filled with constant travel. Now that I can finally sit in front of a computer, I'd like to spend the next few days telling you about the reason for my trips and the experiences we've had along the way. Last week, we flew by Blackhawk helicopter to Laghman Province, east of Kabul, to attend the first graduation of the Afghan Public Protection Force, a new program designed to give local villagers responsibility for the security in their villages.

Similar to community policing in the United States, recruits are chosen by village elders to attend training offered by the Afghan National Police and then sent home to patrol their own neighborhoods in Wardak Province. While it is a brand new program, the concept is groundbreaking and we are rooting for its success.

The graduation ceremony was fantastic. Seeing the new recruits standing proud as they received their certifications was as poignant as it gets. General McKiernan, along with the Afghan Minister of Interior and the Provincial Governor of Wardak Province, addressed them. I had an opportunity to speak to several Afghan students and instructors, and all were proud of the work they are doing. It is inspirational to see this nation rebuild itself with such diligence and pride.

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