By Spc. Joshua Edwards, Combined Task Force Dragoon Public AffairsNovember 19, 2013
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- As Afghan National Security Forces assume more control over their own security, they are taking responsibility of more forward operating bases and combat outposts through proper military operations.
During a transition ceremony, Troops with 3rd Squadron, Combined Task Force Dragoon, relinquished authority over Forward Operating Base Azizullah Nov. 15, 2013, to the Afghan National Army's 4th and 6th Kandaks, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, and members of the Afghan National Civil Order Police.
All the FOB's buildings, tents, fences, supplies, spare parts and generators were turned over to the ANA and police so they can secure the FOB and execute operations independently. The property transactions were completed the day prior to the ceremony which recognized the transfer of ownership from U.S. Forces to Afghanistan's security forces.
"There is a lot of property that we transferred to the Afghan Army and the ANCOP, everything from spare oil filters for generators to office supplies and furniture, a lot of things to get them started," said Lt. Col. Eric Smith, commander of 3rd Squadron, CTF Dragoon. "We also transferred some real estate to them like buildings, tents and fences. During the ceremony itself, we were recognizing that the Afghan Army and police had total control and ownership of the installation."
The ANA has made strides in their training and advisement from the SFAT teams of 3rd Squadron. They have shown their capabilities and have convinced leadership they are ready to continue their mission without the help of U.S. Forces.
"We have been pretty impressed with what they have been able to do," said Smith. "They get out there, they get after it, they know the people, they know the terrain better than we do and they know where the insurgents are. They have made progress since we've been here and I know they will continue to do that. They are excellent infantrymen."
The Kandak commanders expressed their gratitude for the transfer of the base to ANA control and are thankful for the training they have received from their 3rd Squadron partners.
"I am very happy we are taking over FOB Azzizulah from coalition forces," said Afghanistan National Army Col. Said Zainuddin Rohani, commander of 6th Kandak. "We use the training from our American advisors so we know we can provide security for the district of Maiwan."
Over the course of operations, Smith has created a partnership with the leadership of 3rd Brigade, particularly with Rohani. The two have experienced the hardships of war together while conducting operations in the district.
"I have a personal relationship with the kandak commanders," said Smith. "We have been out on operations together. My first day in Maiwand back in April, I hit an (improvised explosive device) with Col. Rohani. So we've got some personal experience operating in the desert together that helps us operate better."
Although the FOB has been turned over to the ANA, Troopers with 3rd Squadron will continue to work with the two kandaks and further their professional relationship during joint operations.
"Just because we have transferred Azizullah, by no means is our relationship severed with them," said Smith. "We will continue working with them until the day we leave. I owe it to those guys to sit down and talk with them and see how things are going. We will continue to work combined operations with them."