By Spc. Edward A. Garibay, 16th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentApril 17, 2011
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - A 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment platoon is taking counterinsurgency tactics to heart and winning the trust and confidence of Afghan communities in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, while also preventing rocket attacks from harming Coalition Forces.
The Soldiers of 3rd Platoon, Mad Dog Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, view counterinsurgency as more than just eliminating Taliban Aca,!" they view it as a chance to reach out to people, said Dr. Will Dulaney, human-terrain social scientist for the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-South Human Terrain Analysis Team.
Aca,!A"The people are really the ones who are going to make a difference,Aca,!A? said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jordan L. Bass, platoon leader for 3rd Platoon., Mad Dog Troop, 4th Squadron, 2SCR. Aca,!A"We could walk around all day and not find a single rocket, but if the people who are actually on the ground farming feel strongly enough to do something about it, thatAca,!a,,cs when things really get done. WeAca,!a,,cre just here to facilitate it.Aca,!A?
Third Platoon, known as Blue Platoon, incorporates the basics of counterinsurgency everyday. They take time to get to know villagers in their area on a personal level and they even hand out flyers with a tip line, so members of the community can report suspicious activity.
The tip line is a great tool, but for it to work, the Afghan people need to trust not only the Coalition Forces, but also the local government, said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin L. Carroll, platoon sergeant for Blue Platoon.
Aca,!A"Our primary objective is to empower local leaders and the Afghan government,Aca,!A? said Bass, a Jacksonville, Ala., native. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre here first and foremost to help the people of Afghanistan, we stop rockets second.Aca,!A?
Dulaney, a Pine Grove, W. Va., native, said although heAca,!a,,cs seen many units implement counterinsurgency techniques, also called COIN, Blue Platoon is by far the best.
Aca,!A"TheyAca,!a,,cve learned to use COIN to manage their battle space Aca,!" to render it more predictable,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"The people really trust them, because theyAca,!a,,cre honorable men.Aca,!A?
One of the main reasons the Afghan community believes in the Soldiers is because they treat the villagers with the same respect as they do each other and show that they understand their culture, said Carroll, a Forest City, N.C., native.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs simple southern hospitality,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"If you accept their culture and customs, it shows youAca,!a,,cre willing to learn.Aca,!A?
Most of Blue Platoon can actually speak basic Pashto, the main language in southern Afghanistan, and some even write Pashto.
Dulaney said simple things like this allow Blue Platoon to get the community on their side. ItAca,!a,,cs the essence of COIN.
Aca,!A"These guys Aca,!" they live the COIN strategy right down to the lowest Soldier,Aca,!A? said Dulaney. Aca,!A"They get it. They understand how it makes their job safer, easier and ultimately gets everybody home in one piece. ItAca,!a,,cs truly amazing to watch them work.Aca,!A?