Afghan national security forces along with Catamount Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, continued ensuring freedom of maneuver by establishing traffic control points near the village of Haft Asiab, Wardak province, Sept. 15.
"It's a joint operation," said 1st Lt. James Peck, a platoon leader with Company C, 2-87 INF. "It's really important to get the Afghan national army and police working together."
Soldiers have been integrating ANSF forces into their daily operations since the beginning of their deployment in December 2008. Through continued missions like the TCP, they can attempt to mark potential cells within local villages that could lead to insurgents who are targeting troops on the ground.
"Our main effort is security on the highway," said Peck, a Syracuse, N.Y., native. "Our battalion believes that a lot of the improvised explosive device-making material and weapons are brought in right on the main highway."
As a white and yellow colored car drove up, the ANSF stopped the car and moved toward it to perform a search while the U.S. Soldiers provided support and security.
Following their training, an ANP motioned for the driver to shut the car off and pop the hood as the passengers were asked nicely to please step out of the car. One-by-one, each occupant was questioned regarding where they were coming from, where they were going and their relationship to the others travelling with them.
As the passengers were questioned, ANA soldiers inspected the car, looking for anything that might be suspicious and indicate the vehicle was transporting potential hazardous equipment or materials.
"The Americans trained us to search the cars and people," said 1st Lt. Hajat Khan, an ANA platoon leader.
The checkpoint, according to the Catamount Soldiers, is a great way for them to observe the progress that has been made through training with the ANA and ANP, while also providing them with opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities to work together.
"Missions like this allow the ANA, ANP and us to work together," Peck added.
One-by-one motorists were motioned through the barricades set up on the long stretch of road into the safe zone. Peck added that the reason for this is to ensure the safety of the Afghans traveling on the roads and to provide better security to search the vehicles and question the passengers.
"We're looking for anything out of the ordinary," Khan added.
U.S. forces have been instructing the ANSF on proper procedures, and according to Peck, incorporating the ANSF into the TCP mission also allows for the local national security forces to recognize the signs of potential threats and properly deal with them in a safe and professional manner.
"The U.S. Army showed us you have to be polite when searching trucks and people," said Khan, as one of his Soldiers searched an Afghan motorist.
Although the TCP did not result in finding any evidence that hazardous materials were being transported, Peck was quick to point out that this day was a success for his troops and for the ANSF.
"There's been a lot of good stuff done in this area," Peck said. "We've helped a lot of people."