Coalition helps Afghan police secure high ground
April 22, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan - Coalition forces mobilized to assist Afghan Border Police establish a new checkpoint to overlook and control a mountain pass near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border March 25 to April 1 in Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
ABP leaders planned the construction and location of the checkpoint in order to better secure the area and block an insurgent infiltration route and asked International Security Assistance Force leaders for support in clearing the route to the checkpoint and advising on security matters during its construction.
"We are building the checkpoint so we can stop the enemy from coming in," said ABP Col. Malmoud Agha, the 3rd Kandak commander. "It was an easier route for them to come into our area."
"From this new checkpoint you can see the whole area here," said U.S. Army Lt. Col Thomas M. Feltey, the commander of Combined Task Force 2-23 (2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment) who hails from Kearny, N.J. "If anything tries to sneak by, Agha will be able to stop them."
The 3rd Kandak was assisted and mentored by Security Force Assistance Team Seven, comprised of members of the Texas Army National Guard, who worked closely with the ABP to examine the area of operations for potential infiltration routes. Intelligence gathering done by the ABP pinpointed the area of the mountain pass as a weakness in the current checkpoint arrangements.
"[Col. Agha] and I talked and we looked at the alignment of the checkpoints," said U.S. Amy Maj. Ruperto Becerra Jr., the SFAT 7 commander from San Antonio, Texas. "We noticed that between checkpoints in that area there was about [12 miles] of dead space that allowed the enemy freedom of maneuver."
"This is the focal point," said Agha, "where they enter through because we have so much space between checkpoints."
After the location was decided the SFAT worked with Agha and his staff to coordinate logistics and personnel planning.
"My staff worked with Col. Agha and went down the checklist of what was needed to build a new checkpoint," said Becerra. "He was very proactive. He had already lined up contractors to begin the new checkpoint operation."
Agha requested ISAF route clearance support and security of the large slow-moving equipment needed to build the checkpoint, said Becerra.
The 591st Engineer Company (Sappers) from Ft. Campbell, Ky., provided a route clearance platoon that specializes in detecting improvised explosive devises. A U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal team assisted in neutralizing threats on the route to and around the checkpoint and Albanian special operations forces assisted with security.
After the new checkpoint was finished Agha began planning to upgrade the existing checkpoints in the area for better defense in the upcoming fighting season, said Becerra.
The ABP live in the checkpoints and rely on the defenses they provide. The policemen assigned to the new checkpoint immediately began constructing living quarters from the ground using earth and wood. It is a testament to the dedication of the men that hold the line and a clear sign that they do not intend to leave. This checkpoint was built to hold to high ground against the insurgents.