Paras Back in Naqilabad to Find New Guardians of Security
Paratroopers who stormed into a Helmand town in November last year, clearing it of insurgents and securing peace literally overnight, have been back patrolling the streets – this time to recruit the next generation of police officers who will protect the area.
The men of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), responsible for security in the northern Nad-e Ali area of Helmand, have been out and about in the town of Naqilabad Kalay, signing up recruits for the Afghan National Police.
While 3 PARA continue to play a key role in safeguarding this area and keeping insurgent activity at bay, a key part of their role is mentoring and training their Afghan counterparts. Indeed, when they cleared Naqilabad Kalay in November, Afghan troops were put at the forefront of the operation and given leadership responsibilities, under the watchful eye of the Paras.
In the long term, it will be soldiers from the Afghan National Army and officers from the Afghan National Police who will keep the peace in Helmand, and steady recruitment is an essential element of success.
The aim of the Paras patrolling the streets of Naqilabad Kalay now is to find up to 40 suitable local people to volunteer to be trained at the Helmand Police Training Centre in Lashkar Gah, before returning to their community and joining the police force.
Lieutenant David Donnelly, of 3 PARA, said:
“From traditional war-fighting one month to recruiting police officers the next, this tour could not be more diverse for 3 PARA. The challenges our men face are wide-ranging and not always what people would expect from the Army, but they approach every task with the level of professionalism that is expected of them.”
Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said:
“The Afghan National Police represent the future of security in Helmand’s urban areas and we are making great strides. Since opening a little over a year ago, the Helmand Police Training Centre has seen more than 2,000 officers graduate. Recruitment is also a key effort, so we can ensure that communities are protected by their own people and can be confident of lasting security in the long term.”