FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZANGABAD, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army soldiers from 4th Kandak, 205th ANA Corps helped refine a checkpoint for their sister unit, 2nd Kandak, April 16 and 17 in the village of Gerandai in the Panjwa'i district of Afghanistan.

According to Afghan Lt. Abdul Mwgod, an engineer platoon leader with 4th Kandak, building the checkpoint was the first time the two Kandaks worked together in that area.

"We are all in one army, we wear the same uniform," said Mwgod. "It's important to be unified so we can give security."

Mwgod said he thinks highly of his fellow Kandak.

"Second Kandak is the best Kandak in Kandahar," Mwgod said.
"They can bring security in Afghanistan because they always try to help."

So when 2nd Kandak needed 4th Kandak's help building their checkpoint, Mwgod and his soldiers rose to the occasion.

"I want to make this checkpoint so we don't allow for (the Taliban) to come in to disturb our people and make more soldiers in danger," explained Mwgod.

Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, Combined Task Force 4-2 (4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division) assisted 2nd Kandak in providing security for the engineers.

Two weeks prior, United States engineers with 38th Engineer Company, CTF 4-2, added an initial row of Hesco barriers around the checkpoint, which used to be a school, as their engineer partners looked on, said Capt. Gregory Black, the commander of 38th Engineer Company.

"Two weeks later, we're coming out here and (the ANA are) doing everything and they're moving much quicker than we could've ever anticipated," said Black.

The original row of Hesco barriers provided more safety for ANA soldiers, but not enough, said Mwgod.

The Afghan engineers added a second layer of Hesco barriers on top of the first row that the U.S. engineers had set up.

The second layer of barriers added additional height and protection from small-arms fire, said Mwgod.

The ANA used heavy machinery to fill the barriers with sand from around the compound.

For Black, it was his first time working with Mwgod.

"Their platoon leader is one of the most knowledgeable engineers I've ever met," said Black. "He knows exactly what to do. He was out there operating the equipment himself (and) showing his soldiers how to use it."

Black said his confidence in Mwgod's abilities is a reflection of what he and other U.S. soldiers have accomplished with their partners.
"I think for us, it just shows all of our guys how far we've come since we've been here that they're out here seeing this and it's their show, they're running everything," said Black. "For (the ANA) soldiers, I think it's good to see all the U.S. soldiers standing back and just watching, almost in amazement, of how quickly they're operating and how far they've come."