On his visit to Turkey, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, head of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A), told reporters that Turkey has made significant gains in efforts to train the Afghan national police. General Caldwell was in Ankara to brief Turkish officials on the one year progress of the NTM-A in developing a stable force of Afghan security professionals who will help protect Afghanistan as an independent country.
"I see the incredible difference Turkish trainers make," said Caldwell and added, "If you asked me to judge all my coalition trainers as to who probably has the greatest impact in the relationship with the young Afghan recruits, it is my Turkish soldiers." Caldwell also cited the achievements of Turkey's 1,700-member contingent in Afghanistan.
He noted that Turkish trainers were particularly effective in mentoring Afghan troops who “have a clear cultural affinity” with Turkey and value the 100 years of shared history with the country. “When a Turkish soldier walks in, there’s a clear difference,” Caldwell recalled, saying that the young Afghanis “want to improve” and look to Turkish soldiers as role models.
During his visit to Turkey, Caldwell reviewed the forthcoming six-month Afghan training course with the Turkish Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry. In December 2010, 500 Afghan recruits are scheduled to participate in a training program in the Turkish province of Sivas.
In all, 27 Turkish instructors have been assigned to train an Afghan National Police battalion in an “all inclusive” training program. Officials said Turkey has been preparing to increase manpower to enable the training of 900 Afghans per course.
"We have made incredible progress over the last year," Caldwell said. "I want to sustain that momentum into the next year."