KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
COMBAT OUTPOST EDGERTON, Afghanistan -- Since Hezat was born he watched his dad defend Afghanistan under the direction of the Afghan National Police fighting what the children like to call the bad guys more commonly known as the Taliban.
His dad, who wishes to remain unnamed, thought it would be a prideful job that would inspire his son to one day follow in his footsteps and become part of the Afghan National Security Forces.
The thought of his son one day wearing the ANP uniform and fighting for peace made him extremely proud, said the father.
Unfortunately, for Hezat, a young resident of the Dand district in Kandahar, Afghanistan, the first time he would have a run in with the Taliban would be long before he was ready to fight.
At the young age of three, Hezat was visiting his father at ANP checkpoint Salo Kariz, when a white vehicle approached and began firing.
The occupants of the vehicle, later identified as members of the Taliban, ambushed the checkpoint trying to take down any and everything that stood in their way.
That included 3-year-old Hezat, who according to his father was struck by one of the bullets fired from the Taliban’s AK-47s.
“The Taliban doesn’t like anyone,” said Mirweis, ANP checkpoint commander. “They were trying to kill everyone that day.”
A bullet struck little Hezat in the foot, leaving a dime-sized hole and sending him to the ground in tears.
Shortly after being struck, his father was also hit in the leg by a couple of bullets.
Despite being hit, Hezats’ father returned fire, killing one of the insurgents. Shortly afterwards the team of ANP were going blow for blow with the terrorist organization, and after realizing the true force of the ANP, Mirweis said, the Taliban ran.
For the young boy, his father, and the checkpoint commander, remembering the events of that day are easy because it was less than a month ago and although it was physically painful Merweis said it was important for many different reasons.
For one, he said, the ANP showed that they are strong enough and have the necessary training to fight the Taliban, force on force, without the help of International Security Assistance Forces.
“The Taliban knows the ANP in this area and they know they can’t stay here,” Merweis said. “Taliban knows they can’t mistreat the people because they are scared of the Dand police.”
Secondly, he said it helped show the people of the Dand district why their security forces are number one among all other districts in southern Afghanistan.
“We are proof of why Dand police has best security out of every village,” said Merweis.
He added that the improved security and good relationship with the people of the villages, ensures continued ANSF success.
The small scar on Hezat’s foot will always serve as a reminder of what life in fear of the Taliban would be like, but it’s a fear his father hopes he will never have to experience again.
For additional photos of this story see the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division FLICKR page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/1-25_sbct/sets/72157628048387019/
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This work, 3-year-old Afghan boy gets glimpse of life with the Taliban, by SSG Thomas Duval, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.