News: Afghan National Security Forces continue training with SFAT teams
Story by Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer
FORWARD OPEARTING BASE WALTON, Afghanistan – As the month of October ends and the New Year approaches, Afghan National Security Forces continue to make strides as they take the lead from International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan.
Afghan Uniformed Police in Kandahar City, Afghanistan, part of the ANSF, have been training with ISAF security force assistance teams from Forward Operating Base Walton, learning different tactics and techniques that encompass being part of a security force.
The provincial headquarters-Kandahar security force assistance team took a trip to Kandahar City, Oct. 28, to provide training and oversee projects being conducted at the old provincial headquarters building.
Capt. Gary Chura, a Missouri National Guard individual augmentee who is the rule of law evidence-based operations adviser, with Battery A, Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, worked with more than 10 Afghan Uniformed Policemen who are part of the counternarcotics unit on land navigation training, teaching them grid coordinates and how to orient themselves on a map properly.
These lessons will “provide the AUP with skills they did not have before, and will allow them to cover more area within the city,” Chura said.
Lt. Col. Al-haj M. Wali Ghoci, the director of anti-narcotics in the AUP, spoke about how beneficial the training Chura provided was.
“[Chura] is a very smart man. They [Afghan Uniformed Policemen] really respond to his training because he gets them involved and they are actually learning,” Ghoci said. “This is a skill that we will use to our advantage as we move forward.”
Ghoci also said that some of his policemen have had land navigation training before, but that it was years ago, so the refresher course helps them get back up to speed.
He was also grateful for the work Chura has continued to put in with the AUP and how effective this makes the CNU.
“I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done,” he said.
Chura was glad to help.
“I like to train people who are interested and want to learn. The guys were really interested and participated a lot and tried to show off and outdo each other,” he said. “I try to make it fun and I think they like that.”
In addition to his teaching, Chura also works with counterterrorism and counternarcotic officers within the AUP as part of his role on the PHQ-K SFAT team.
“We are trying to help them work with evidence-based crimes, and how to use evidence, photos and biometric data to help solve crimes and elevate the respect level of the justice system here in Kandahar,” Chura said.
On the next floor up at the PHQ, other members of the AUP received additional training on computers and radio communications equipment.
This training was provided by sub-contractors, but was initially set up by another member of the PHQ-K SFAT team - Capt. Noah Poeling.
Poeling, a signal officer with Battery A, FAS, 2CR, is the S-6 and public affairs advisor for the PHQ-K.
Poeling, who along with Chura is an individual augmentee from the Missouri Army National Guard MOANG, has a variety of areas he covers as part of the SFAT team, mostly dealing with communications and providing public affairs support for the AUP and ANSF.
The particular class being taught involved showing AUP how to work with modern computers and software, from utilizing email and Internet services, to basic things like setting up their own desktops.
The AUP also had the opportunity to work with radios, from setting them up to proper radio talk.
He talked about how much these classes are already helping, and continue to help the AUP.
“I think one of the biggest things for them is the Internet security. When they get a virus, they will know how to remove it so that it won’t compromise the machine,” Poeling said. “This is the first time for many of them using a computer and a radio so will help them a lot.”
In the past, Poehling has also had to support the team with signal-related issues, working with the AUP media officer to cover things the AUP is doing here in Kandahar province.
AUP are also continuing to work with SFAT teams back at FOB Walton – learning about detainee and counternarcotics operations.
At the provincial headquarters detainment center located next to FOB Walton, SFAT teams are working with patrolmen and officers on how to effectively run a prison and handle detainees.
Currently the center can hold 90 males – most of which are waiting to be transferred to another prison or will eventually be released.
Detainees have been arrested for alleged criminal activity including soliciting prostitution, drug smuggling, and terrorism.
With such a variety of missions, the SFAT teams are constantly busy, but that doesn’t worry Poehling.
“They have the knowledge to do the job; it is just giving them that confidence to do so. We work shoulder to shoulder with them so they feel comfortable in the future,” he said.
The progress seen with AUP and other ANSF is positive, Poeling added.
Some projects the SFAT team will focus on in the future will be advising the ANSF on securing the upcoming elections as they continue to be a stable force of security and structure in Afghanistan.
“They are willing to learn; they are willing to take responsibility for their own security,” Poeling said. “It is a great thing to be a part of.”