PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Jan. 8, 2014) -- Afghan National Security Forces detained a suspected insurgent during a clearing operation Sunday and then held a security shura with village elders in Sar Houzah district's Oazai village.

After the operation, a village response unit and Afghan Local Police, or ALP, met with the elders to propose a new police checkpoint. Shura is an Arabic word for consultation. In Afghanistan, shuras are meetings of leaders and stakeholders to come to a group consensus on a proposed action.

"The main reason for today's operation was to search the village for insurgents, build relationships with the village elders, and [to] convince them [of establishing] an ALP checkpoint in their village; so they will have protection against insurgents," said the village response unit commander.

"We need a doctor, better roads and a school so our children can get an education," a village elder explained during the shura.

"[The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] can give you these things," said the commander. "But unless your village gains security by establishing an ALP checkpoint, any progress you make in education and healthcare will be destroyed by the insurgents the next time they pass through."

Oazai leaders were hesitant, but said they would decide in a couple weeks whether to accept the offer, saying that they will only have a checkpoint if it is able to withstand large insurgent attacks.

"There are two ways to combat the enemy," said the commander. "One way is through physical force, the second, and better way, is through words and ideas."

Overall, the commander said the mission was a success because the Afghan National Security Forces were able to build a relationship with the villagers.

The suspected insurgent is in the custody of the National Directorate of Security officials.

Page last updated Wed January 8th, 2014 at 00:00