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Strength of Spirit: 4th Afghan Border Policemen lead their men no matter the cost

By Sgt. Justin Updegraff Resolute Support Headquarters

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NAWA DISTRICT, AFGHANISTAN, Aug. 11, 2017 — “Right now the people feel free. We defeated the Taliban and we retook the Nawa District,” said Lt. Col. Mohammad Juma, the 1st Brigade Commander, 4th Afghan Border Police. “The people are very happy to live in a safe place.”

Engineers with the 505th Zone National Police pull a notional improvised explosive device out of the ground utilizing the Talon at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 8, 2017. During the class, the engineers focused on techniques to detect, uncover and destroy IEDs. This training, given by a Marine advisor with Task Force Southwest, aided them in a real-life operational environment during Maiwand 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
Engineers with the 505th Zone National Police pull a notional improvised explosive device out of the ground utilizing the Talon at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 8, 2017. During the class, the engineers focused on techniques to detect, uncover and destroy IEDs. This training, given by a Marine advisor with Task Force Southwest, aided them in a real-life operational environment during Maiwand 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
Engineers with the 505th Zone National Police pull a notional improvised explosive device out of the ground utilizing the Talon at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 8, 2017. During the class, the engineers focused on techniques to detect, uncover and destroy IEDs. This training, given by a Marine advisor with Task Force Southwest, aided them in a real-life operational environment during Maiwand 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff) Strength of Spirit: 4th Afghan Border Policemen lead their men no matter the cost
Engineers with the 505th Zone National Police pull a notional improvised explosive device out of the ground utilizing the Talon at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, June 8, 2017. During the class, the engineers focused on techniques to detect, uncover and destroy IEDs. This training, given by a Marine advisor with Task Force Southwest, aided them in a real-life operational environment during Maiwand 4. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
Within just a two day span, and thanks to leaders like Lt. Col. Juma and 2nd Lt. Elham, the deputy operations officer with 4th ABP, Afghan National Defense and Security Forces were able to move south into the Nawa District and recapture it during Operation Maiwand 4 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan from July 15 – 17, 2017.

With 35 years of experience serving with the Afghan National Police and the 4th ABP, Lt. Col. Juma jumped at the opportunity to lead his men during the push south during the operation.

“I led my men down the eastern route of the operation,” said Lt. Col. Juma. “I showed them the tactics and techniques on how to tactically and safely maneuver during the operation.”

2nd Lt. Elham has been with the 4th ABP for four years and took on a large role for this operation. Switching between 3 locations, he would find and report enemy grid locations to higher and friendly forces as well as find out what locations need to be taken back.

“I was the leader of all three locations, and would move from one area to another during the operation,” said 2nd Lt Elham. “I also would help the engineer team identify and clear [improvised explosive devices along the routes].”

These grid locations not only helped ANDSF clear the district of the enemy, but also helped the coalition air support conduct the necessary air strikes to aid in the success of the operation.

“During the operation, we faced many obstacles, like IEDS,” said Lt. Col. Juma. “So we had the EOD team clear the route. But thanks to the coalition air, we were able to focus on clearing the IEDs and continue to push [to eliminate any enemy forces].”

Lt. Col. Juma recalls a time during the operation where they were about to clear a room, until one of the soldiers noticed more than one indicator of an IED. Due to successful training in the past, the engineer team was called and cleared 10 IEDs from a room that they were about to enter not knowing the dangers it possessed.

“I think that bravery is the most important thing, not only in an operation but with everything,” said 2nd Lt. Elham. “If you’re brave and strong during any kind of life situation, then you may be able to achieve your goals and your purpose. It’s also very important during operations like Maiwand 4, because you need to have a strong spirit and you need to be very brave so you can achieve the goals and defeat the enemy.”

It is men like Lt. Col. Juma and 2nd Lt. Elham that exemplify bravery and selflessness. These men joined to serve and protect the people and the country, something they hope will help bring peace back to Afghanistan.