News: A joint venture: 64th MPs, Alingar AUP work, patrol together
Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – They said it was a typical day in their partnership.
The 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, visited the Alingar District Center Afghan Uniformed Police Jan. 15. The two police units had a meeting with Alingar AUP Police Chief Adam Khan, ate together, worked on vehicles together and ended the day with a joint patrol.
“This is pretty typical for us, we do everything together,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Malcolm Adler, a platoon leader with the 64th MP who hails from Bronx, N.Y. “We eat together, we sleep in their center, we work together, we train together.”
Adler said the company will typically visit the Alingar District Center, which is the equivalent of a police station in the United States, several times a week, often staying there for three or four nights at a time. The company then conducts patrols in towns throughout the Alingar District, which has been named a key terrain area, a location the coalition wants to concentrate their efforts on due to population and other factors.
Adler said the MPs conduct four to five patrols a week with their Afghan partners. He said they have been partnered together since April 2010 as part of Task Force Ironman, conducting more than 100 joint patrols together during that time.
This time out, the police patrolled through the town of Kachur, a village a little over a mile to the south of the district center. Khan chose the village because the police had not been there together in a while.
AUP 1st Lt. Mohammed Hussain is a graduate of the Mehtar Lam Provincial Police Academy and has been a police officer in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. He said the AUP have not had any problems from this particular village, although it is one the enemy is known to pass through in conducting operations against the coalition.
“We went with the Americans to the village of Kachur to talk to the civilian people about their problems,” Hussain said. “We asked them about their security problems and about enemies around the village. They said the people will call us, but they don’t really have any security concerns, they are partners with the AUP.”
Adler said the patrols are important, even if the people in the villages say they feel safe.
“It’s how we gain information on enemy activity in the area,” he said. “We have to get out there and be policing with the AUP in the area, and ask them if they see any crime ... The villagers will tell us.”
Though they did not find any security concerns in Kachur, the people did tell them about some problems in the village concerning their water and school, which Adler said he will forward on to the provincial reconstruction team to look at.
The day began with a meeting between Kahn and Adler and his platoon sergeant, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joe Contreras, a native of San Antonio, Texas. The three men discussed the chief’s future plans in the area. The chief said the Alingar AUP have been conducting about 14 patrols weekly through villages in the area.
Adler said the AUP have stepped up their independent patrols in the last few weeks and have also recovered numerous improvised explosive devices in the area.
While the meeting transpired, U.S. Army Spc. Carlos Pulido, 64th MP all-wheeled mechanic from Turlock, Calif., took a look at some of the AUP’s Humvees. It is a vehicle with which Pulido is very familiar and he said he was able to help them fix some minor problems with the vehicles, such as changing out some bolts in the half shaft and giving the AUP a jack to use to change tires. Pulido was assisted by Alingar AUP Farid Ahmad Malang, platoon sergeant, who helped him carry his tools and service the vehicle. Pulido explained the problems with the vehicles through an interpreter so Malang will know how to fix similar problems in the future.
“They’re all pretty good guys,” Pulido said of his AUP counterparts. “They all just want to jump in and help.”
Adler said when he started working with the police in Alingar in April, they were initially hesitant to get out and patrol with the Americans. In the 10 months he’s been here; however, the AUP have become more and more eager to go out with the Americans after having success on joint missions.
“Those AUP will go anywhere with us,” Adler said.
“We want to go on joint patrols all the time with the American military police,” he said. “It’s all we want. It’s impressive when we work together. It lets the people know the AUP are out there and are on patrol in Mehtar Lam and here in Alingar.”