News: Dragoons advise AUP in preparation for upcoming elections
Story by Sgt. Joshua Edwards
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Troopers with Combined Task Force Dragoon continue their mission of advising Afghan National Security Forces in preparation for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
Soldiers with Troops O (Outlaw) and P (Palehorse), 4th Squadron, CTF Dragoon, teamed up with Afghan Uniformed Police for a series of foot patrols at various checkpoints throughout Kandahar province during the month of December, 2013, during Operation Alamo Scout.
The AUP has been conducting these missions to address security concerns they might face as they train and prepare for the 2014 elections and also to engage with local community elders near various checkpoints throughout the province.
With prayers being recited over loudspeakers throughout the night and smiling children playing and running up to the patrollers in excitement during the day, the AUP patrols are allowing the police to reach out to local village elders and inquire about how each area will participate in the upcoming elections. The assessment allowed them to gain a firm grasp on how much security, or if any, would be necessary for a safe and successful outcome.
"[It's an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the various checkpoints and an indication of the support they would require to have a successful elections and provide enduring security to the villages]," said 1st Lt. Joseph Brockbank, platoon leader for 1st Platoon, Palehorse Troop.
The elections have become an opportunity for the AUP to estimate just how willing and involved the local population will be in the democratic system of government. In preparation they are assessing where there is a concern for security and conducting reconnaissance missions at each polling site to ensure its safety.
"Elections are important for unifying the nation of Afghanistan and getting more people involved means more faith in the government we are trying to support over here," said Brockbank. "The more people feel safe about voting and the more people that come out to vote is a clear indication of the stability of the government and the confidence people have in the government."
Afghan police at each checkpoint welcomed the troopers, prepared fresh chai tea and sat down with them to discuss local operations. After each sit-down, the troopers and AUP set out on a foot-patrol from the designated security checkpoint to the next one.
The AUP and the National Directorate of Security of Afghanistan are in the lead for information gathering during military operations in the country as well as for security operations.
"The Alamo Scout series is really our partnering with the Dand District AUP and NDS," said Capt. Ryan Yaun, commander of Outlaw Troop. "They really lead and drive all the intelligence with everything we do out here. We just assist them with any security needs. We go out to all the checkpoints and partner and do dismounted patrols in and around the village population centers based off what the AUP and NDS see where they want that partnership in the villages."
The Alamo Scout mission went as planned and the AUP look forward to working with the Troops again in the future.
"We spoke to them about doing this again and they told us we can come anytime we want and really continue to partner," said Yaun. "Their policemen really enjoy working with our soldiers so I kind of think it starts at the smaller level. The more we continue to work with them, that's going to continue to develop."