CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan — Afghan National Army Detention Operations Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Ghulam Farouq (center) conducts a terrain walk at the Detention Operations Command Headquarters construction site at Pol-e-Charki along with Task Force Titan Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Phillip Churn (center left) and Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Balan Ayyar (center right) January 9, 2013. (Photo by Ms. Catherine Threat)
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan (January 9, 2013) — In the midst of headlines that claim the Afghan forces are ready to take the lead, the Security Force Assistance Integration Cell at Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 Headquarters has proof. The Afghan National Army Military Police Guard Command at the Afghan National Detention Facility at Pol-e-Charki, who are partnered with Task Force Titan for mentorship and assistance, are taking solid, steady steps toward independence.
A Key Leader Engagement, conducted at ANDF-PeC and Camp Gazi on January 9, 2013, brought together Commanders from the Afghan Detention Operations Command, CJIATF 435, and Task Force Titan, along with the ANA MPGC, the ANA quick reaction force, SFAIC and other CJIATF 435 members.
“The Afghan leadership at ANDF-PeC and Camp Gazi hosted the meeting and were fully integrated in mission planning. They ensured proper security was in place and prior coordination was made with adjacent units to facilitate ease of access into both facilities. The force protection element exercised extreme caution with the leadership by not notifying their subordinates of this high level meeting until the morning of the event, exercising operational security,” said Army Maj. Matthew LeBlanc, SFAIC team member.
While the main focus of the mission was simply to facilitate a meeting between key leaders, both US and Afghan, concerning daily functioning of the detention facility and meeting the needs of the guard force and detainees alike, the more complicated task of logistics and security was in the hands of the ANA MPGC. The Afghan and US generals and officers also conducted a terrain walk of the Detention Operations Command Headquarters, currently under construction, and a portion of the MPGC’s Division Headquarters facilities at Camp Gazi.
CJIATF 435 engineers were on hand to answer questions from the key leaders during the terrain walk of the construction site. According to Army Capt. Jeff Sullivan, CJIATF 435 engineer, questions were raised and addressed from all sides and the mission flowed smoothly.
“The mission started off at ANDF-PeC, where key leaders from both commands discussed the future of the Detention Operations Command HQ at Pol-e-Charki. Following the walk through the construction site, we traveled to Camp Gazi where the MPGC currently operates their detention officer training school. They have also moved elements of their Division HQ to Camp Gazi,” said Sullivan.
Assessments of the progress the Afghan command has made at Camp Gazi were clear as the Afghan and US Commanders toured the facilities.
“I was impressed to see the progress that the MPGC has made on their own at Camp Gazi with infrastructure upgrades and the establishment of sustainment services,” said LeBlanc. “The most important take-away from my perspective was to see the Afghan soldiers of the 2nd Brigade in action as they safely hosted their Coalition counterparts on a facility which is operated predominately in Afghan control.”
SFAIC has provided that vital link between the Command of CJIATF 435 and their Afghan partners. SFAIC has also assisted their Afghan partners on a daily basis, facilitating problem solving and establishment of a sustainable solution, making continual progress in the transition of Detention Operations to Afghan sovereignty.
With the full transition to Afghan control not far away, assistance teams are taking on more of an advisory role and SFAIC sees this mission as solid proof that the Afghan forces are taking the lead.