News: Despite bad weather, ANA and ARSIC-N ETTs launch operation
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian P. Seymour
CSTC-A Public Affairs
QAYSAR, Afghanistan – U.S. Army embedded training teams from Afghan Regional Security Integration Command – North showed Afghan national security forces that the mission will continue despite poor weather conditions.
This mission, known as "Operation Four Seasons," is a continuation of "Operation Shaheen Sahara," which was conducted during much of November in both Faryab and Badghis provinces.
In an effort to stabilize the region, coalition members from ARSIC-N and International Security Assistance Forces from Regional Command North planned to team up with the ANSF in early December during Four Seasons. Due to weather, however, only the American trainers and mentors from ARSIC-N were able to reach the farthest western province in the northern region, which allowed the first leg of this operation to persist.
Four Seasons was a multi-faceted coordination between the Afghan national army, Afghan national police and their coalition mentors. It consisted of exercises such as: displaying police presence, conducting humanitarian assistance missions to remote villages and performing site reconnaissance for implementing a new forward operating base for the ANA in Qaysar.
The follow-on operation to Shaheen Sahara is part of a winter-long surge evolution where both ARSIC-N and ISAF mentors check in monthly to assess the needs of the ANA and ANP.
Similar to other regional operations around the nation, the objective is to put an "Afghan face" on all elements, which, according to the commander of ARSIC-N, Army Col. Edward Daly, is precisely how the mission was carried out.
"The ANA got the job done," he said. "They did the mission, and we were honored to help by coaching and mentoring them through it. We provided additional security in the region to help them get the job done."
The American forces camped at Forward Operating Base Freia, which currently serves as the district post for the ANA until a larger and better-equipped FOB can be established in Qaysar District.
When the rain began to fall, dirt quickly turned into mud and the road conditions became virtually impassable, but somehow the ARSIC-N mentors managed to carry out their assigned missions.
On a stretch of Ring Road, where the roads have yet to be paved, the Faryab District police mentor team pressed on to assess several ANP checkpoints between the towns of Chil Gazi and Dwabi, and follow them on police presence patrols.
Faryab District police mentor team leader, Army Capt. Stewart Gast, was thrilled to assist the ANP in this endeavor.
"That's what I like to see," said Gast. "I like to see them talking to the people and letting them know, 'We're here to help. We're here to serve you.'"
Simultaneously, the ANA led the ETTs to villages south of Afghanistan's major highway to conduct presence patrols and hand out humanitarian assistance to the town of Khwaja Kinti, and later to the village of Karez.
Similar to the police patrols, the humanitarian assistance projects were led and administered by the ANA, with their American mentors behind the scenes.
"The ANA made the distribution of everything," said ARSIC-N information officer, Army Maj. Joel Graham. "They were the ones who divided everything up and organized all the supplies. We were there to supervise, and make sure it all got into the right hands as best we could."
After the American forces completed these missions alongside the ANSF, they headed back to their staging point at FOB Meymaneh and began planning for their next evolution to take place in the new year.
Recently, weather permitted ISAF elements from Regional Command – North to continue with efforts to build a FOB for the ANA in Qaysar, and resume stability-sustaining operations alongside ANA and ANP forces in the region.
The ARSIC-N ETTs hope to travel alongside the ANA in the Qaysar and Ghowrmach Districts on a weekly basis over the next few months. If weather allows, RC North will assist the American mentors in a relentless effort to refurbish villages, restore civil order and rekindle partnerships between the Afghan people and their sovereign government.