COMBAT OUTPOST EDGERTON, AFGHANISTAN
COMBAT OUTPOST EDGERTON, Afghanistan – On most days, wet or dry, Afghan children in the Dand district can be found playing tag or helping their family transport a herd of cattle from one location to the next.
Along the children’s path, dressed in a faded blue uniform, members of the Afghan National Police provide security for the children and their families, often times stopping them to ask how their day is or to join in on a friendly game of kick ball.
Much like the children, members of the ANP can be found with a smile on their face.
For the people, here, life is enjoyable and most of the time safe- a far stretch from where the district was less than six years ago.
According to Afghan National Army district commander and a twenty-six year veteran of local security efforts, Rahmad Ulla, the Taliban would make threats daily to decapitate any innocent Afghan civilians who chose to support the local Afghan National Security Forces and in some cases held true to their word.
Despite the constant threats by the Taliban, Ulla said the community continued to support the ANP and other ANSF organizations and helped him increase his force.
“The Dand district police have good connections with the people,” he said. “We trust the people and the people are trusting in us.”
The working relationship between the people of Dand, ANP and the local Afghan National Civil Order Police, helped decrease the Taliban presence and their threats in Dand making the success of the local ANP the standard across all of Afghanistan, Ulla said.
“We are committed to doing our best,” Ulla said. “Our good connections continue to lead to success and it shows the Dand people want to ensure their security.”
In addition to their continued partnership with the Afghan people, Ulla said, the training of ANSF by International Security Assistance Forces has also helped lead to better planning and overall mission success.
“The ISAF trained our police and now our police know the law,” Ulla said. “They helped us and now the Dand police have a good policy and a good plan.”
Part of the ‘good plan’ included putting in place three additional checkpoints. The checkpoints allow for the ANP to monitor the people coming in and out of areas, facilitating routine searches to take place further limiting the Taliban’s mobility, and eliminating the transportation of homemade explosives.
The Dand ANP also put into place a registration system that is used to document and register each individual vehicle and person. Ulla said the system helps the ANP track what is coming and going and helps identify any suspicious activities, personnel or movements.
He credits the two security initiatives with recently helping find three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, which he suspects were meant to target ISAF forces.
In addition to confiscating the three RPG’s, the local ANP have also jailed four suspected murders’ and closed more than 15 terrorist cases in recent months; a success the ANP shares and celebrates with the local Afghans they protect.
“We have seen a lot of improvements since training with the ISAF and we are performing our jobs daily,” said Samardin, a member of the ANP. “Most important we want to serve our country and protect the people.”
Samardin and Ulla hope that the ANP’s ability to independently lead security operations will help ISAF meet the 2014 drawdown deadline. More importantly, they hope their efforts will allow the Dand children to continue enjoying their childhood in hopes that some day they will also stand wearing the faded blue uniform offering a friendly smile to those who pass.
For photos related to this story see the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division FLICKR site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/1-25_sbct/sets/72157628036945277/.
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This work, Afghan National Police restore peace to Dand district, by SSG Thomas Duval, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.