News: Coordination key to Afghan success
Story by OR-6 Mark Doran
TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - A small but influential Afghan organization may hold the key to a cohesive security plan post ISAF’s withdrawal in Uruzgan: officers from the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and the National Directorate of Security coordinate interagency operations across the province from the Operational Coordination Centre Provincial - Uruzgan.
Over the last five years the OCC-P has received training and support from Australian, Dutch and U.S. mentors and advisers. The OCC-P staff from Combined Team Uruzgan have transitioned from the role of direct mentoring the ANSF to being on hand to provide advice and liaison. The three Afghan security agencies have taken full responsibility for security as their capability to provide command and control, combat support and combat service support has increased.
Col. Ghulam Dastiger, NDS coordinator OCC-P, says the national security forces (ANSF) are planning and conducting independent security operations in Uruzgan.
“When a security incident occurs in the province we are the first to know and we can independently plan and react very quickly,” he said. “If we did not have this center it would result in the failure of ANSF operations in Uruzgan ...The OCC-P is operating well and we are supported by our provincial leaders ...We will defeat the enemies of Afghanistan.”
Lt. Col. Mohammad Zamir, acting deputy commander of OCC-P, says the coordination delivered by his dedicated and professional team has led to many successful ANSF security operations in Uruzgan.
“These have included clearance operations in the areas of Char Chineh, Deh Rawud and Khas Uruzgan,” he said. “The ISAF mentors observe us conducting our operational planning and advise us when necessary, but we are ready to operate independently... Our recent significant role was in providing security for the delivery of voter registration cards by road and air to the five districts of Uruzgan in preparation for the 2014 presidential election."
During the election the ANSF will provide security for the voting centers across Uruzgan. Lt. Col. Paul Duncan, senior adviser for OCC-P, says the ANSF team is competent, professional and above all motivated.
“They have proven very capable of conducting independent operations this fighting season and have succeeded in disrupting the insurgency in key areas,” he said. “Their methods are often unorthodox – you wouldn't find them in any western military textbooks – but they work and more importantly are sustainable post our departure at the end of the year."
"Whether Uruzgan can build from this foundation will largely depend on the continued unity of effort between the police, the army and the NDS, which is why the OCC-P is so important.”
Lt. Col. Zamir said the main threats in Uruzgan were still improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers.
“The government plans to inhibit these threats from the insurgency by paving the roads from Tarin Kot to the districts and constructing ANP-manned checkpoints,” he said. "The insurgents are unable to fight us face-to-face. They have lost their power and capability across the province ...The communication, planning, coordination and support provided by the OCC-P will mean the ANSF can stop the insurgents.”