News: ANSF, TF Bayonet leaders prepare for upcoming Afghan elections
Story by Pfc. Michael Sword
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Senior leaders from the Afghan National Security Forces across Wardak and Logar provinces and commanders from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, gathered at Forward Operating Base Shank, Sept. 1, to prepare for the upcoming Afghan elections.
The meeting was the first to bring together the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, provincial National Directorate of Security chiefs, Operational Coordination Center, Provincial commanders, as well as representatives from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission and the 173rd’s leadership to discuss the upcoming elections and the combined effort of securing both polling sites and voters.
“The purpose of today was to get the senior leadership together, getting them talking about the detailed events of the elections,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christopher Storms, of Virginia Beach, Va., the officer in charge of the 173rd’s role in the elections. “There is clear cooperation between the ANP, the NDS, the ANA, the IEC and coalition forces, so we brought all five of those people into the same room, and we have a pretty decent plan that really just needs to be polished up a little bit.”
That plan will cover two provinces and more than 200 polling sites in which the ANSF will provide the majority of the security. With the elections in less than two weeks, the meeting also provided information on potential problems that may arise.
“This is not a simple operation,” said Storms. “It’s a complex operation, and complex operations require you to have detailed plans and analysis done so you can properly execute that mission.”
“We’ve come a long way since we started planning about two months ago, but we still have some very important details to flush out,” he added.
As the meeting came to an end, U.S. Army Col. Jim Johnson, 173rd ABCT commander, reminded everyone in attendance that this was another step toward a successful election, and the people of Logar and Wardak need to know the work that their security forces have put in to ensure their ability to vote safely, Sept. 18.
“This was a good event because it’s moving us forward,” he said. “You need to let the population know the detail put into this plan.”