NAWA DISTRICT, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
NAWA DISTRICT, Helmand province, Afghanistan - Policemen with the Afghan Uniform Police all over Nawa intensify self-sufficiency as the deadline nears for United States forces to pull out of Afghanistan.
Nawa is home to thousands of AUP policemen who stand side-by-side with coalition forces to fight against insurgents. Gainesville, Texas, native 1st Lt. Dylan Buck is a platoon commander with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and works with the local policemen almost every day.
“My job consists of working a lot with the precinct commander in my area and to keep his men active,” said Buck.“As far as the police go, they’ve been doing a really good job coming in and are definitely on the right track.”
Precinct Commander Dawud, who only goes by one name, is in charge of more than 20 policemen in his precinct and has several more at different checkpoints and patrol bases in surrounding areas. Dawud and his men work, eat, sleep, and patrol through Nawa alongside Marines every day.
Most police precincts and patrol bases in Nawa average more than a dozen patrols a week according to the unit. Buck said he is confident Dawud will be successful in keeping his men on task when the time comes for 1/9 to redeploy.
He also mentioned the relationship built between his Marines and the AUP continuously improves through all the time spent together. His Marines see the AUP’s desire to serve their fellow citizens and continue to mentor the policemen.
“The policemen are stepping their game up with every passing day,” said Buck. Marines all over Nawa are working everyday to prepare the policemen to be able to run the precincts and checkpoints on their own. Capt. Brett Taylor, a native of Troy, Mich., believes the AUP around Nawa have come a long way.
“I think with the way security is now if they get fully manned, they’d be capable of continuing to keep security in Nawa,” said Taylor, the Police Advisory Team leader with the unit. “Along with the Afghan National Army that’s present locally, I think they’ll be alright.”
Taylor’s work helps mentor the Nawa District Chief of Police 2nd Lt. Haji Ahmad Shah, who oversees five police precincts and the hundreds of policemen manning them.
Shah said the only thing slowing them down is the lack of policemen.
“The precinct commanders are doing well and the policemen are able to do the operations, but we still need more men,” said Shah.
“Other than that, my men are doing great and we are thankful for all of the help from our Marine friends.”
As of March 2011, the AUP end strength is 66,927 and is on track to meet all growth objectives for officers and AUP patrolman under current training fill rates according to an April 2011 report from the Department of Defense.
“For now, we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Taylor. “But the policemen are aware of the situation and know its ‘sink or swim’ time. The potential is there and if they want it, they definitely have the power to keep this country safe.”
Editor’s Note: The 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 1, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
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This work, Nawa Marines notice Afghan police ‘step their game up’, by Sgt Marco Mancha, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.