By Spc. Cynthia S. Teears Van CleveMay 13, 2010
BALKH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Soldiers of Company A, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion have been working with the Afghanistan National Border Police to find a good setting for a proposed joint combat outpost.
Capt. Bradley Smith, company commander, and his Soldiers have been assessing sites and getting to know the ANBP personnel who keep the area secure.
One of the proposed sites was once a forward operating base used by the Soviets back in the late '70s and early '80s.
"We looked at the old Russian FOB, but we want to look at a couple of other places also," said Maj. Cloyd Smith, operations officer with the battalion headquarters. "I want to build up the city and install the ANBP commander and Capt. Smith here. We want to be set up and prepared before anything happens."
The process of building a combat outpost does not happen overnight, and there are many provisions that must be in place before building can begin.
"We were told if we provide electricity, we might be able to move into the customs building temporarily, for the three to four months that it will take to build the joint combat outpost," Smith said.
In the past, the military has worked directly for governors and built up and improved areas, he said.
The JCOP will house members of the U.S. Army and the ANBP together. ANBP soldiers will be from their quick response force company.
Maj. Ismatula, commander of the QRF company from the ANBP's 3rd Kandak, or battalion, was the commander who came here and freed people in this area from the Taliban a few years ago, Smith said.
"My men have been impressed with his men and with the commander himself," Smith explained.
Ismatula has been a military commander in Afghanistan for nearly 16 years.
Many topics were discussed and agreements were made during the meeting; however, they are still in the beginning stages of getting the mission completed.
"Now is the time I should use your ideas and you help us with the technology," Ismatula said. "Since you are our guests, we want to protect you."
The mayor of the city also plays a key role in helping to acquire buildings and land for the placement of the JCOP.
"This is a very important place here, very important to Afghanistan," said Kasinajibullah, mayor of Heyratan, a city near the proposed JCOP. "Many security forces are living here and working for us. I'm working very hard to keep the railroad secure."
The kandak here is professional and good at their job, according to Kasinajibullah. They responded to threats and problems from accidents to rocket-propelled grenade attacks.
"My intelligence and security forces are working very well and doing a good job," Kasinajibullah said. "Within a few days, we discovered the people responsible for a recent RPG (attack)."
Kasinajibullah expressed appreciation to U.S. forces for building up the Afghanistan Security Forces.
"Without you helping us, we would not have the security forces," he said. "Any place you (choose), I will be of service and I will help."
The mayor believes Afghanistan has hope for a good future.
"If at least each company of the U.S. forces works with each Afghan company, Afghanistan will be a good country," Kasinajibullah said. "We appreciate you. You left your home and families to help us. We appreciate it."