Saturday, October 20, 2007

Afghan Security Forces Earn Public’s Trust

Source: Defend America News.

24 Sept 07
By Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan — With the help of American and coalition forces, the Afghan national security forces are gradually earning the respect and acceptance of the Afghan people.

Embedded tactical trainers spend their days training and coaching Afghan national army and police how to conduct themselves during and outside operations.

"Our biggest job is showing ANSF what 'right' looks like," said Army National Guard Maj. Chris P. Guziec, ANP ETT district commander. "We take what they think is right and mold it into something that is workable. This helps them better understand the steps to take and the reason for the changes."

Guziec said this type of training requires flexibility for both groups, along with consideration for Afghanistan's cultural and religious foundation.

"We are the ANP's mentors; making sure they are being professional at their jobs and not exploiting their power," explained Army National Guard Cpt. Jason E. Knueven, ANP ETT district team chief. With the mentoring, Knueven said he notices positive changes in the Afghan security forces in each of the missions he oversees.

The most recent mission involved the ANA and ANP securing several villages and searching houses based on intelligence gathered by coalition forces and ANSF.

“They were being professional at their job,” Knueven said. “They weren’t going in and stirring up the houses. The people took it really well because the ANSF was doing it the right way.”

American soldiers working with ANSF in operations and exercises also see improvement in their Afghan colleagues’ performance. “The local populace needs to be able to build that trust with its own military and police,” said Army 1st Lt. Brian M. Kitching, 2nd Platoon Leader, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “ANA and ANP working to catch the bad guys will do that. It’s a slow process and a gradual process, but I definitely see an improvement in the way they plan and execute missions and control their forces.”

But Kitching said the ANSF has to do more than catch bad guys to earn the trust and respect of the Afghan people. Afghan civilians need to know they can rely on their military and police to protect them, he said.

“The good people want the bad people out, too, but they have to trust the people searching their homes,” Kitching said.

Photo- An Afghan national army soldier checks an area of recently disturbed soil searching for possible hidden weapons or explosives during Operation Jam Morad, Sept. 12, in Ghazni Province. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison. Digg! Digg!

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