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    Afghan national police, Marines show presence in Delaram marketplace

    By Lance Cpl. Brian D. Jones
    Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan

    DELARAM, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Afghan national policemen and U.S. Marines patrolled together through the marketplace of the district center of Delaram, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in search of illegal activity and contraband Jan. 24.

    The Marines of 1st Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan, assisted the ANP with searching for narcotics and improvised explosive device-making materials as part of the alliance's counterinsurgency operations.

    The Marines met with the ANP just inside of the city at a fortified police station and immediately the ANP were ready and willing to go. In a matter of moments, the patrol stepped off on foot to maneuver through the city's crowded bazaar to talk with store owners in an effort to develop a sense of activities within the community.

    "Today's mission was to conduct a patrol in Delaram with the ANP," said Cpl. Alan D. Morales, the squad leader who led the patrol. "Our platoon's mission was to work alongside of the ANP while training them and also making sure they are doing the right things. Whenever we go out on patrols, we go with ANP in order to teach them and mentor them."

    Morales went on to say how important it is for the ANP to make its presence known in the area.

    "We're making sure there is an Afghan face out there," said Morales. "That way the people don't see [Marines] as the only ones that provide security."

    The Marines of 3/8 arrived in Delaram in late November and have experienced relative stability in the city. According to Morales, the locals within the city are generally always friendly and pleased with the security that alliance forces have provided them.

    "They say it's a lot better than what it used to be in the past," said Morales. "They are all happy knowing that we always come out and keep the bad guys away."

    On patrol, the ANP and Marines stopped in local businesses. The ANP's presence in the shops helps to deter the trade of narcotics and IED-making materials. Most all of the shops were found to be legitimate businesses with little doubt as to whether or not they supported the trade or distribution of illegal substances or IED-making materials.

    "The [ANP] have a lot of good guys," said Morales. "They work hard every time we are out there. They do a good job searching people. We let them do most of the searching as far as people go. They're good at searching cars as well."

    Darren W. Bullard, a U.S. Department of Defense civilian who works closely with the Marines as one of the battalion's law enforcement professionals, gives the patrols an edge by teaching the ANP tactical patrolling, searching and questioning procedures. He points out the items in shops used to make IEDs, making the ANP aware of what to look for as well.

    "Things went real well," said Bullard. "Several shops are starting to get used to us and recognize our faces whenever we come in. They want us to sit down and drink tea with them and talk, which is a good thing. We didn't find a whole lot of items that could be used for IEDs; but we did get a little bit of [relevant] info here and there though."

    Bullard said the newly-appointed policemen are becoming more of an asset to the Afghan community as they use of the tactics they are being taught. Bullard is teaching the policemen how to recognize relative clues to illegal activity during their searches.

    "You just have to make sure you ask them [ANP] a lot of direct questions," said Bullard. "They have information, but they usually don't share that with you unless you just out-right ask."

    Bullard attributes any challenges in communication to differences in culture, but he is pleased with the Marines' and ANP's progress in overcoming it.

    The ANP regularly patrol the city with the assistance of Bullard and the Marines in order to protect the community. Becoming more familiar with the community helps both the ANP and Marines to obtain the information they need to serve the citizens they protect.



    Date Taken: 02.03.2009
    Date Posted: 02.03.2009 03:59
    Story ID: 29573
    Location: AF

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