By 1st. Lt. Joseph RobinsonDecember 30, 2013
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 30, 2013) -- The 2nd Battalion Security Forces Advise and Assist Team added another Afghan National Security Forces' and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan unit to their list of organizations to work with during the deployment.
"We have all three platoons on mission today," said a staff officer from 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in reference to the battalion's new mission tempo.
This unit, which is located in Charikar, the capital city of Parwan Province, mentors the Afghan leadership and assists them in planning training and missions, followed by offering feedback after any Afghan National Security Forces-led operations.
"The new mission tempo is great," said 1st Lt. Matt Hurley, an Alexandria, Va., native and platoon leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion.
Hurley said the frequent assessments of the area give his platoon the opportunity to "build a baseline of what the route, bazaar shops, and population densities are supposed to look like." As a result, it helps his platoon figure out "what looks normal," which allows his element to be more vigilant if they observe something that is out of the ordinary.
The battalion advises units at Mahmud-e-Raqi, Kapisa Province's capital, and an Afghan National Army unit in the Kabul Province. Visiting Charikar frequently will help build a rapport and allow 2nd Battalion to coach their Afghan counterparts located there.
The Security Forces Advise and Assist Team, or SFAAT, requests updates from the Afghan units they advise and offers assistance with planning future Afghan-led operations.
Charikar is roughly 15 miles from Bagram Airfield, allowing the SFAAT to advise their new counterparts on a very frequent basis, due to its close proximity.
The Warriors will have to learn about the traditions, history, and culture of Parwan in order to effectively work with the Afghan leadership and its people.
The area is urbanized with multi-story brick buildings and paved roads between the markets. The bazaars on either side of the roads are decorated with shops and food hanging as displays and potential sales.
Children are frequently seen playing outside and show their excitement at the sight of U.S. Soldiers by "practicing their English [with English greetings] and giving the ubiquitous thumbs up," said Capt. Joseph Barrow, a Gig Harbor, Wash., native, who serves as a communications officer adviser for 2nd Battalion.
"The bazaars are teeming with exotic sights and sounds," Barrow added, as he compared this new sight to the fairly tranquil Tagab district.
The scenery is a change from the rural feel that was prevalent at Forward Operating Base Tagab. With time spent working with their new Afghan counterparts, the SFAAT will build a working relationship that is intended to leave a lasting impression in Afghanistan.