If the participants of a meeting are eager to know, after nearly two hours of intensive work, the date for the next meeting, then it is fair to say that the event has been quite successful. That is what happened at the EUPOL Headquarters in a kick-off meeting of two major projects: Strategic leadership skills development to the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Support to the implementation of the crisis management procedures in Afghanistan.

Developing the leadership skills and supporting the crisis management procedures are related in several ways. As the Deputy Head of Mission, Tarmo Miilits, mentioned, the Afghans and the EUPOL have already been working with these issues and now it is time to take the next step, to implement the curriculum of management/leadership training for senior leadership of MoI and the Afghan National Police (ANP) and to implement the recently approved Policy on Crisis Management.

Furthermore, the projects are fundamentally related to education and horizontal information sharing between the different educational institutions and strategic level of the MoI is essential for the successful implementation of the curriculum. That is why about 40 representatives of the MoI, the ANP training institutions and international partners were invited to the kick of meeting on 7 February.

Last year an expert from the German Police University visited Afghanistan and made an assessment of the leadership training needs. EUPOL organised the study trip to Germany where the tailor-made curriculum was tested during a high level management and leadership course attended by prominent decision makers from the MoI and ANP. Now the work continues keeping in mind the main goal which is to improve the leadership skills of the MoI and ANP strategic level personnel by implementation of the academic and standardised leadership and management course curriculum. The customised curriculum of the leadership and management course should be approved and incorporated into a training package for MoI/ANP senior officials by September 2016.

“Good cooperation is important for the sustainable implementation of the curriculum and for that purpose a technical working group and a steering group with strong presentation of the educational sector have been established. The Afghans are leading this work and EUPOL will support it all the way”, said the Deputy Head of ANP Professionalisation and Training Component Margus Kotter. Gurung Amod from UNDP-LOTFA expressed the willingness of UNDP to cooperate on the leadership curriculum project as UNDP has worked with leadership training as well. Kotter stated that EUPOL will be happy to cooperate with other international actors who have the capacity to support this project.

Shortcomings in management capabilities are recognized in the MoI and that is the reason why the Ministry has requested this project from the EUPOL. We need to find out if our generals have or have not the skills needed for good management and we need EUPOL’s help for that,” said MoI’s Inspector General, Major General Rahimullah Borhani.

EUPOL’s MoI Reform Adviser Ronny Horman also concentrated on the pivotal role of implementation. “The Policy on Crisis Management has been approved but it does not include practical measures to handle the crisis. However, the need to have crisis management plans is recognized in the Policy and the next step will be creating a national procedure or method which could be used in different kinds of crisis situations everywhere in Afghanistan”, Horman said presenting a few examples of crisis management procedures from different European countries.

To raise the awareness and increase the capabilities of the MoI regarding the use of crisis management procedures will also contribute to the improvement of overall leadership and management skills in the MoI. The target – the implementation of the crisis management procedures within the MoI – should be achieved in the beginning of May 2016. At the same time, EUPOL supports ANP’s capacity building by enhancing the recording and evaluation capacities for operational issues related to major crisis.

The need for crisis management implementation plan was also underlined by Major General Abdul Zia Kohestani, the Chief of Staff for the Senior Deputy Minister of Interior, General Mohammad Ayoub Salangi. MG Zia would also want to have a special unit, a Crisis Management Committee, established in Tashkeel (the MoI human resources plan) and a SOP (standard operating procedure) regulating the implementations of the Crisis Management procedures.