CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Afghan Uniformed Police recruits learned basic self-defense skills during an escalation-of-force training scenario taught at the Joint Security Academy Southwest, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 21.
These self-defense skills give police officers an option besides lethal force.
“They have no training on the escalation of force before they get here,” said 1st Lt. Gitthens, a team officer in charge at JSAS. “It’s just to show them that there are a lot of steps you can take before you have to use a lot of force.”
Gitthens said it is vital for the police to know the steps in escalation of force. They need that knowledge to properly protect the public. It also stands as a barrier against abuse of power.
Recruits, like Abdul Aziz and Ghawsuden, feel that these skills are necessary to be ready to go back to their districts and protect their people.
“When we go back to our villages and face trouble we may have to use this,” said Ghawsuden, 32, from Nimruz province.
Teaching the basic skills becomes an ongoing process. Even the simple procedures become milestone learning lessons. The motions necessary to complete the moves are not natural movements for the majority of the recruits. Still, there are a few who took to the training more naturally than others.
“Some of the guys have actually had boxing training in the past, so they pick it up pretty easy,” Gitthens said. “A lot of this is not natural for them, so they are uncoordinated with it at first. It just takes a lot of practice.”
Recruits also have a lot of fun. It gets them out of the classroom to do things they have never done before.
“Everybody likes the action stuff, so whenever these guys can get physical they enjoy it,” said Gitthens, 25, from Casper, Wyo.
Ghawsuden said the classes are important too, but the recruits get to go outside and have fun learning self-defense. Everybody was laughing and joking but still learning, giving the Afghan recruits a chance to hone skills and mix it up.
Abdul Aziz, another recruit at JSAS, wants to be ready for anything that may come his way. Learning the skills will prepare him for the tough tasks ahead.
“Learning these new techniques makes us ready for anything. It also allows me to be a better police officer and better protect my people,” said Abdul Aziz, 32, from Helmand province.