FORWARD OPERATING BASE LAGMAN, Afghanistan - The commanders of the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, and the Hawaii Army National Guard Security Forces Assistance Team 21, met with the Qalat Reserve Kandak on Jan. 15. The meeting was held to coordinate a sustained independency plan for the QRK before the U.S. withdrawal in 2014.
The QRK, an Afghanistan Uniformed Police battalion, conducts basic counter-insurgency operations in Zabul province, but lacks the support systems needed to maintain themselves.
“They’ve been in the lead,” said the 1st ABCT commander, Col. James R. Crider. “Now we need to make them independent.”
The support systems they need range from the replenishing of ammunition to the maintenance of vehicles, he said.
Crider said advisers should focus on helping Afghan forces find a system that works for them. If they do not get the resources from their government, then they will not be ready to stop major insurgency-operations once coalition forces leave.
One system that SFAT 21 and the QRK set up was a vehicle-maintenance team composed of Afghans from Kandahar. The team will have the parts needed for some of the more complex repairs that are beyond the reach of QRK mechanics. The continuation of repair teams like these will be vital for the success of future QRK operations.
Despite lacking the parts to sustain all of their vehicles, policemen of the QRK remain motivated by other assistance and training they get from SFAT 21, such as medical and weapons training.
“They are always smiling and staying engaged in the training that we provide,” said Maj. Kevin Carbrey, commander of SFAT 21. “They know this will be their country when we leave.”