Afghan National Security Forces prepare for upcoming elections
January 2, 2014
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 2, 2014) -- In a dark room, with only small hints of light shining through the windows on Forward Operating Base Connolly, in western Nangarhar Province, Sunday, advisors from 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, gathered with 4th Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army Corps, or ANA, leaders to discuss the details of a mission that's expected to contribute to a successful Afghan presidential election for Nangarhar, in 2014.
The mission, named Shaheen 25, is now in full swing.
Soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 201st ANA Corps, have been tasked with providing security for other Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, in order to establish checkpoints in the city of Wazir in the Khugyani district.
"There has been a lot of insurgent movement in the corridor of Khugyani district and [the ANA] are using this operation to provide security for the Afghan Local Police to build a checkpoint in the Wazir area," said Capt. David Hubbard, an operations advisor to 4th Brigade. "Establishing this checkpoint should shut down some of the enemy traffic."
At one time, many operations were planned and executed in a vacuum. Coalition Forces realized the importance of establishing synergy between ANA leaders and leaders from the other ANSF Pillars in order to plan and operate together early on.
During this ANA operation, as with many conducted recently, planning and coordination included the Afghan National Chief of Police, Nangarhar District Chief of Police, Afghan Local Police, Afghan Border Police, Afghan Uniformed Police, or AUP, and the National Defense Service from the start.
"According to President Karzai's order... whenever we do operations or missions, we sit together in coordination centers and we share the plan, our thoughts and exchange ideas," said Afghan Lt. Col. Hokomat Sati, 4th Brigade, 201st ANA Corps Operations Officer.
The joint mentality between the ANSF pillars didn't stop at the planning phase. Execution on the ground was just as much of a combined effort.
"The ANA have an area cordoned off [for ALP to build the checkpoint] and within that cordon, the AUP are leading a joint element through the villages and searching for caches or safe houses or for anything nefarious," said Hubbard, of Terrell, N.C.
Although the ANSF have been working with each other closely on this mission and depending on each other, they have not relied heavily on Coalition Forces.
"They're not asking us for anything ... they're asking us for some ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and some air cover," said Maj. Stuart Chapman, operations officer with 2nd Battalion. "[The ANA] is only asking for our advice as a safety blanket. They are, essentially, fully functional without us."
This mission was not just about ending current insurgent activity in the area.
"This mission is about disrupting the insurgents future planning and building relationships with the local Afghan people," said Afghan Brig. Gen. Dadan Lawang, commander, 4th Brigade, 201st ANA Corps. "The people of Khugyani should not be concerned about security, because the three polling stations there that were in higher threat areas have been dropped into medium threat levels and will get even better."
As the ANSF display their self-reliance through coordinating and accomplishing missions with limited support, their ability to secure the Afghan people and their voting locations is becoming more prevalent.
"As the ANA continues to support the checkpoints by doing patrols and setting up other positions, this will help in providing security for Afghan people going to the polling sites near this new checkpoint," said Afghan Maj. Aqa, public affairs officer, 4th ANA Brigade.
Although this mission initially set out to produce one checkpoint, it ultimately resulted in three checkpoints being established in the Kyughani corridor.