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Battalion’s partnership prepares Afghans for greater role in Parwan detention facility

By MCC (SW) Maria Yager , Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435

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PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 29, 2011) — After a ten-month deployment training Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in support of the conditions-based transition of the Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP) to Afghan control, the 96th Military Police Battalion, Task Force Spartan, was relieved by the 785th Military Police Battalion during a transfer of authority ceremony April 27, 2011.

Task Force Spartan, commanded by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Edgar Perez, directly supported Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435’s efforts to transition the state-of-the-art theater interment facility to the Afghan government by training ANA Military Police soldiers for duty in the DFIP. As part of a conditions-based transfer agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, the ANA will equip and assign the bulk of necessary personnel for the guard force and headquarters staff at the facility.

“The impressive performance of the ANA during our deployment has been the success story,” said Perez to the assembled group of ANA soldiers. “Partners and new brothers, let me say what a privilege and honor it was to be a guest in your country and work beside you.”

During their deployment, Task Force Spartan trained nine of the first ten classes of ANA Military Police soldiers who completed the Detention Operations Transition Course (DOTC), a six-week course of advanced individual instruction emphasizing safe, secure, humane care and custody of detainees in accordance with international standards and Afghan law.  More than 1,500 ANA soldiers were made ready for duty at the DFIP, including a qualified guard force and supervisory staff to man three housing units in the facility.

Task Force Spartan also implemented the ANA Leadership Course for senior ANA officers to increase their institutional knowledge of DFIP operations, and a “train-the-trainer” program that prepares ANA soldiers to join the instructor ranks at the DOTC.

“They have provided excellent training for our soldiers,” said ANA Col. Sooltan, ANA MP battalion commander, of the 96th Military Police Battalion. “We are very appreciative of Lt. Col. Perez and his soldiers and look forward to working with the 785th.”

The 785th MP Battalion, Task Force Monroe, is a U.S. Army Reserve Unit from Fraser, Mich. commanded by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard Atchison. The 785th previously deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and in 2005 to Camp Bucca, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“We are excited to be here and to partner with the ANA,” said Atchison. “We look forward to continuing the progress established by Task Force Spartan and ultimately setting the conditions to transfer this guard force academy to the ANA.”

The DFIP, a state-of-the-art theater internment facility, was completed in September 2009 and occupied by detainees in late December 2009. The DFIP is equipped with a medical facility, on-site family visitation center, vocational facilities and educational classrooms. The design of the DFIP accommodates detainee reintegration efforts and enables Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 to better align detainee operations with the overall strategy to defeat the extremist insurgency in Afghanistan.

CJIATF-435, in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and U.S. interagency and international partners, conducts operations in detention, corrections, the judicial sector and biometrics.   CJIATF-435 is currently conducting a conditions-based transition of detention operations to Afghan control while promoting Rule of Law practices.