TF Strike advises ANSF during Afghan elections
April 9, 2014
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Leaders with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and the commanders of both the Train Advise and Assist Command-Northeast and the Combined Joint Task Force-10 advised and assisted their counterparts with the Afghan National Security Forces as they executed their plans to ensure a safe and secure election day process April 5, 2014, at the Operational Coordination Center- Regional, Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Laghman province, Afghanistan.
The ANSF rolled out a massive plan to prevent disruption and coercion by the enemies of Afghanistan, and 2nd BCT leaders assisted in advising the ANSF leadership in implementing their plan to secure polling sites throughout the area. Eight major candidates vied to succeed Hamid Karzai, who according to the constitution, is not permitted to seek a third consecutive term as the Afghan president.
"We covered down on every place that we thought that we could best help and best ensure that information was synchronized and understood from the ANSF perspective and the coalition perspective," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert C. Connell, commander or 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT and advisor to Team Blue. "From my perspective, the big winner here was the population."
Connell highlighted that various units of the ANSF all contributed to the mission.
"I thought they did an exceedingly good job, they had a good plan, the [ANSF] all worked well together -- the ANA, the Afghan National Police, the Afghan Border Police, and the Afghan Civil Order Police. They all worked together very closely. There were enough security elements at most of the polling signs," he added.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Miguel De Los Santos, the 201st Corps Security Force Assistance Advisory Team noncommissioned officer in charge, said that he feels that the ANSF are ready to take the lead in the security of their country.
"I felt it went better than expected," said De Los Santos, "I felt like it was a good victory for the country of Afghanistan. From what I hear, there was a big turnout, and we didn't get too many reports of disruption at the polls."
Connell also highlighted the contributions by Strike Soldiers that support the mission of the advisors.
"Everybody, regardless of what they did, whether they were advisors or they were supporting advisors, was absolutely critical to the advisory mission," Connell said. "Every single one of them is so important to us being able to do our job; you can't just focus on the advisory team, you have to focus on everybody that's deployed over here because they all contribute to helping Afghanistan."
U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Sincere, 2BCT's fire support officer and advisor to 201st Corps, said that the ANSF displayed their ability to defend Afghanistan on their own.
"I think it enabled the [ANSF] to build confidence in their abilities to secure the people; it was a unilateral operation, they required very little assistance, and the areas we did provide assistance are assets they didn't have," Sincere said. "They could already do it; they already knew they had the capability and ability to execute the way they were trained, but it's being able to see the effect of all their hard work and training … it gave them a lot of confidence, and in the end, they were kind of 'hi-fiving' each other saying, hey we did a good job.'"