HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Four Afghan border police, two Estonian service members and 11 Marines conducted a security patrol Sept. 6 through a village the Marines call Little Jugrum.
The patrol was a show of force, to allow the locals around Patrol Base Hasanabad to see the ABP and know they are here to provide security for them according to 1st Lt. Colin Duffy Police Mentoring Team commander, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3.
The PMT Marines were on the patrol mainly to observe how the Afghan borders policemen interact with the local populace, and give advice when needed.
The two-hour patrol from PB Hasanabad to Little Jugrum started about 5 p.m. Once they got to the village, the ABP started their mission, asking questions and talking with the people about Taliban activity.
According to PMT platoon sergeant Sgt. James Renwand, the ABP are a good paramilitary force, but they still have a lot to learn about being a police force. One simple example is they've been trying to teach the ABP to smile more so civilians are not intimidated by them. But Renwand feels that once the ABP are more comfortable with patrolling, they will be able to interact with the locals better and become a much more effective police force.
After going a little further into the village, the patrol encountered a second, fairly large group of local men, so the ABP spoke with them. A short while later, they came across a building that the ABP searched for weapons or suspicious items after receiving the owner's permission. Overall, it was a relatively uneventful day, but an opportunity for the Marines to observe their charges practicing the new trade of serving and protecting.
According to Cpl. Evan Snead, one of the PMT Marines originally with 2/8's personal security detail, working with the ABP is an enjoyable experience which gives him a sense of accomplishment.
After patrolling through the village and finding nothing out of the ordinary, the patrol turned back to PB Hasanabad.
The job of being the mentors for the ABP is a learning experience for both sides, according to Renward, "Not only does it teach the ABP what they need to know, but it helps our NCO's to learn small unit leadership, and helps to make the Marines really well rounded."
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