An American soldier with the 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, takes a knee during a dismounted training patrol with the Afghan National Police near Forward Operating Base Shoja in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 1. (Photo by Sgt. Darryl Montgomery)
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHOJA, Afghanistan (Februray 7, 2012) — Soldiers stationed here have been training the Afghan National Police in different tactics and techniques that will come in handy once the coalition forces have left Afghanistan. The ANP and American soldiers came together Feb. 1 to conduct a training patrol in a nearby village to show their presence in the area.
Soldiers with 3rd Platoon of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division and attached to Task Force Bobcat, have been working with the ANP for five months to prepare them to stand on their own when the platoon goes home in the coming months, said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Brewer, platoon sergeant of 3rd Platoon.
“When we started working with them five months ago,” he said, “they really didn’t know much. Since we began, we have trained them on various skills and techniques that will help them stand on their own when the time comes.”
The Afghan National Police have been trained in first aid, land navigation, dismounted patrols, and locating and dealing with improvised explosive devices, said Brewer, a Vernon, Fla., native.
“Today’s patrol was the culminating event,” Brewer continued. “The police were leading the patrol and their commander was in charge of the formation. We were there only as mentors.”
“They have begun to mirror us,” said Spc. William Ringo, the radio/telephone operator of 3rd Platoon. “It obviously isn’t perfect yet, but when you look back at where they were when we started working with them, it’s a huge difference!”
When the Americans arrived at the ANP checkpoint, the police were manning their stations as they should be, according to Brewer. “They want to do a good job and secure their own country,” he said.
One ANP policeman, who joined the force to help offer Afghanistan his services, said he “would like to see the country become a safer place for its people in the years to come.”
Even though Brewer and his platoon feel the ANP here are already a success story, they will continue to work with them to get them ready to do this on their own.
“They want to be out there, doing this on their own,” said Ringo, from Norman, Okla. “They don’t want to rely on us. They have asked in the past for mine detectors so they can go out alone and not have to worry about land mines.”
“When we leave this area of operation, they will be ready to do it alone,” Brewer said. “When the Afghan people see Afghans leading, it instills confidence in them knowing they have a capable force in their own people.”