News: Afghanistan Elections: A look behind the scenes
Story by Tech. Sgt. Gloria Wilson
CAMP MOREHEAD, Afghanistan - Afghan Commandos and U.S. Special Forces conducted a joint mission to help conventional Afghan National Security Forces retrieve election ballots boxes and resupply Afghan National Police at a district center Sept. 24 in Chak District, Wardak province.
The mission was successful and although it was a collective effort from multiple assets, one of those assets—6th Kandak, 3rd Company Commandos—had a personal stake in the mission’s success. Helping ensure election integrity is personal because the progression and stability of their country is one of the reasons Commandos serve, so being on a mission that directly affects that hits close to the heart.
“This is our country,” said Afghan Col. Mohammad Naim Majudy, 6th Commando Kandak commander. “People continue to fixate on things that go wrong, not the many achievements we have had. This mission like many others before it, was executed flawlessly. There are things that happen behind the scenes, actions we take to better Afghanistan, but no one hears about it. It’s important for people to know that we care about the outcome, and we care about what the people want.”
This mission was set into motion because Afghan National Army and ANP had been engaged and targeted in multiple attacks by Taliban for five days. They could not safely acquire and deliver the election material. Once the request for help was received, various forces with the Commandos leading the way on the ground, sprang into action. Everyone had their part in the mission and Commandos did their part with proficiency and conviction.
“The Commandos are here to help their country, and they do that every day in a multitude of ways,” said a U.S. Army Special Forces master sergeant who works with 6th Kandak Commandos. “The Commandos’ success had during this mission directly contributes to Afghans being able to vote in the future without repercussions. The right to vote must be protected, and not letting those ballot boxes get into enemy hands lends to that larger picture. Throughout the entire mission Majudy kept asking the status of the boxes—it’s important to them.”
The importance Commandos place on their service to their country comes with a price: there is the time spent away from their families, there is being targeted solely because they are Commandos, and there is dealing with misconceptions and enemy propaganda.
Many times insurgents lie to the Afghan local populace and blame anything bad that happens on Afghan and coalition forces, when in actuality, they’re the ones emplacing IED's and firing weapons without regard to life.
The USSF master sergeant, who has gone on multiple missions with the Commandos, said he has seen firsthand the care Commandos take to ensure an operation doesn’t result in civilian casualties or property damage. Their job is to protect the people and it’s a job they take seriously.
“Whether it’s recovering ballot boxes or another mission, it’s all done for the same reason,” said Majudy. “It’s about doing what’s right, being a servant to your country, and coming together to defend Afghanistan.”