Airmen prepare Afghan security for future

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelet
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

During the past four months, 755th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Airmen have been focusing on transitioning the security of the Parwan province to the Afghan National Security Forces, while ensuring the security of Bagram Airfield here.

A key to the success of the transition is that ANSF are taking the lead in planning and exercising of operations, while using the coalition service members as a support force.

By working with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, security forces are able to build up the ANSF's repertoire, expanding their capabilities during joint patrols.

Recently, the ANP discovered an improvised explosive device that was put in place to strike a 755th ESFS patrol. The ANP detected it, cordoned off the area, used explosive ordnance disposal and safely detonated the device in a place before it could harm members of the community, ANSF or coalition forces.

Each time a patrol goes out, the 755th ESFS joins up with an ANSF member.

"This jointness helps build trust in the village to report to ANP, and it shows that they are very capable," said Capt. Michael Alvord, the 755th ESFS operations officer. "It also makes them more comfortable to report to us because they know us as part of the community. We conduct counterinsurgency and counter terrorism in conjunction with ANSF to provide effective security, enabling governance and economics in the local area. We are also aiding the transition by providing training support to local ANP."

Alvord said security forces are providing counter improvised explosive device training and basic medical procedures, to include using embedded medical personnel, to assist transferring skills sets to support a baseline capability for ANSF. In turn, the local populace can go to the ANP for basic medical needs or emergencies during the performance of their duties.

The ANSF who frequently go on extended patrols with 755th ESFS personnel during this time of year are devout Muslims during Ramadan, Alvord said.

"They do what we do without water, food or sleep, and figure a way to conduct their faith and manage to do the job; provide security," Alvord said. "They rely on us sometimes and, out of respect, we'll stop and provide security for them while they practice their faith. They understand the impact of providing security. It affects their families, their neighbors and that's important to them."

Alvord said a better image of ANA and ANP forces would meet the ultimate goal of coalition forces no longer being needed so ANSF could provide security on their own.

"If the village leaders are happy, it's easy for us to provide security. If not, we need to ... get the local populace to buy-in and trust the ANA and ANP," Alvord said. "Each time we go into a village, it opens a wide array of possibilities. Engaging with village elders, families and kids to provide a human relations atmosphere allows the ANSF to tackle non-security issues and focus on the local populace."

Just through supporting operations, the ANSF has buy-in and understands how to best use their forces in order to affect security keeping their primary focus on their mission. It enables them to bear less of a burden and increase a positive atmosphere on a human level, Alvord said.