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Afghan police station opens in Marjah


ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
2010-09-AO-089 For Immediate Release
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By Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 8) - Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) members in the Marjah district of Helmand province opened their first police station Sunday.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the progression of a district that did not have a police force only four months ago.

"This station will help the AUP be more able to complete their job," said Governor Abdul Mutalab, Marjah district governor.

The police station is a temporary set of tents and reinforced barriers designed to protect the officers and provide work areas. The station is equipped with living quarters, offices and holding cells.

Establishing a police station is a milestone for the burgeoning police force, but it's just the first step toward a permanent security force in the area.

A larger, improved facility is currently under construction. The need for a police station grew along with the rising number of officers, according to Regional Command-Southwest officials. As recently as April, there were no formally trained police in the district. The number is now close to 300 officers.

The station serves a dual purpose for officers in the area. Not only can it be used as a place to work, it's also a recruiting station. Thirty-four of the officers who graduated from the Joint Security Academy Southwest in August were the first to be recruited from Marjah.

The higher level of security the station provides will help secure the government's hold of the district, according to RC-West officials. In addition to the construction of the police station, new schools and other government improvements for Marjah are under way.

"We have all seen the past of Marjah," said Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, RC-Southwest commander, said during the ribbon cutting at the new police station. "Now we can see the future of Marjah, and I think that future is a happy one."

The AUP, the largest organization within the Afghan National Police, is responsible for law enforcement and criminal investigation.