News: Security Forces Assistance teams paving way for drawdown
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
COMBAT OUTPOST EDGERTON, Afghanistan - Specialized Security Assistance Forces deployed throughout Afghanistan are helping train Afghan National Security Forces in modern combat tactics.
In the Dand district, of Kandahar, Afghanistan, the soldiers from the SFA team, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, are doing their part to advise, train and mentor the local Afghan National Police in law enforcement techniques and basic battle drills.
The ongoing partnership is currently in its sixth month and has encompassed a wide range of training to include checkpoint security, evidence collection, weapons qualification, room clearing, dismounted patrols and basic handcuffing procedures.
According to U.S. Army Maj. Carson Davis, the SFA team executive officer for the Dand district, participation and successful completion of daily missions has seen a lot of improvement. As a result, the ANP have been conducting successful independent operations daily.
“Throughout the Dand area of operations [ANP] have stepped up the tactical control points … they’re searching vehicles and taking drugs and weapons munitions off the battlefield,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Harry Space, a SFA combat advisor with 1-5Inf. and Montague, N.J., native.
Many of the improvements made by the ANP can be attributed to the increase in the number of police substations and security forces currently present in the Dand district.
Prior to the SFA team’s arrival the ANP had 18 police substations compared to the 27 they currently have, said Space.
“The ANP is getting to the point where they are fully mission capable,” Space said.
Space’s enthusiasm for the future of Afghan Security Forces is spreading to the local ANP manning the checkpoints.
During a weekly meeting, Afghan police checkpoint commander Mirweis said he is seeing “vast improvements” adding “we have all the supplies necessary to conduct independent missions.”
Davis hopes that as the ANP masters the art of "basic policeman skills" the SFA teams can begin focusing on logistics; an aspect he said is important for self-sustaining governance and law enforcement.
Davis said the progress being made by the ANP has already allowed the SFA team to begin working with the local staff members on the logistical piece and added that there have already been considerable gains throughout the district.
“I believe Dand is one of the districts in Kandahar that is light-years ahead of some of the surrounding areas just from the training we have been doing with them.” Space said. “Dand is among the best and is keeping the people safe.”