News: Soccer game brings MPs, Afghans together
By U.S. Army Capt. Bonnie Hutchinson
FARAH, Afghanistan – The military police platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Lonestar, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, participated in a soccer game with their Afghan uniformed police counterparts and residents of Farah City at the Farah Athletic Field July 30.
“The intention of the game was to encourage coalition forces, AUP and the local populace to interact freely. However, my number one priority was to ensure the safety for all participants,” said 2nd Lt. Joshua Motes, the platoon leader for HHC’s MP platoon.
Motes met with the commander of Police Sub Station 1, 1st Lt. Fazl Ahmad, before the game to finalize details of the event and coordinate the joint security plan.
The soccer game gave the soldiers of Task Force Lonestar and their AUP counterparts an opportunity to build relationships with the local community.
“This was a great way for the [platoon] and their AUP counterparts to communicate with a younger generation in a non-threatening manner,” said Capt. Orande Roy Sr., the commander of HHC. “Building a relationship with the younger population will not only allow them to feel more comfortable approaching coalition forces and AUP, it will make it easier for us to gather information on the ground.”
The game had a positive impact on the task force’s mission, but it was also a well-deserved break for the military police platoon, who functions at a fast-paced operational tempo, said Sgt. Elton Lambert, a military police officer with HHC.
“It was a chance that we may never have again, a chance to play soccer with Afghan children on their own soccer field,” Lambert said.
The game was followed by refreshments and more friendly interaction amongst the participants.
“I am very proud of this event because it helps foster the idea that we are here to help,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jon Fox, the medical operations non-commissioned officer in charge for TF Lonestar. “It shows that we are approachable and want to integrate ourselves into their community.”