SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan - A recently refurbished vehicle checkpoint along Highway 4 was open for business. The objective of the checkpoints is to combat the flow of illegal drugs, weapons or bomb-making material from entering Afghanistan.
Checkpoint 4 is located on the main supply route that connecting Pakistan to Kandahar City, passing through Spin Boldak. Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force officials were present to celebrate the grand opening.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the front gate of checkpoint 4. Afghan and American security forces were present to cut the ribbon to demonstrate solidarity. Soon after the ceremony, candy was thrown in the air, an Afghan tradition representing good luck.
Afghanistan Highway Police Capt. Haji Shahlohallab, commander of the vehicle checkpoint said Checkpoint 4 was originally built in 1980 and has gone through various renovations. One of the major improvements was placing Hesco barriers along the perimeter of the checkpoint to protect Afghan Highway Police from small-arms fire or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.
The vehicle checkpoint improvements began five months ago said Shahlohallab. He said he was glad to see the ANSF and ISAF working together.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Trevillion, assigned to Kilo Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, said the ceremony represents the checkpoint is prepared to provide highway security.
Trevillion said he and his Soldiers have built a relationship with the different Afghan forces that operate and secure the checkpoints along Highway 4. They visit different checkpoints on a regular basis and sometimes spend the night.
"We've built up a rapport with all the checkpoints along Highway 4," said the Baltimore native.
"A couple of checkpoints have AHP a couple have ABP and one has Afghan National Army [operating them]," said Trevillion.
ABP Capt. Haji Janan, quick reaction force commander said it is good to see coalition forces working together with Afghan forces and looks forward to sharing intelligence with AHP.
Afghanistan Highway Police Capt. Haji Sahebjan said the last time he was at the checkpoint was seven years ago and it was in bad condition.
Sahebjan said he was glad the checkpoint was open again and that the priority of the checkpoints is to provide security for the Afghan people.
"I hope to work together with ISAF," Sahebjan said. "So that we can stand together to solve problems and give peace and quiet to the people of Afghanistan."
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Andrew Green, commanding officer of 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, was also in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The commander told the group ISAF supports the Afghan forces and said he is proud to see the AHP working to help reduce insurgent activity along Highway 4.
"The presence of the Taliban in this area has been greatly reduced," said Green.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, everyone present had a traditional Afghan lunch that included lamb, flatbread, potatoes, rice and vegetables.