War on Terrorism

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Soldiers in Afghanistan Foster New Relationships

By Army Sgt. Jessica Dahlberg
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 11, 2008 - Task Force Gladiator soldiers of 101st Headquarters Support Company serve as the first line of defense here, manning entry-control points and ensuring base security. Their operations often result in supplementing their guard role with envoy-related responsibilities.

security is not all just about the defensive posture," said Army Capt. Stan Goligoski, 101st HSC commander. "We go out beyond the [gates] to interact and build relationships with the people in the local villages around us."

As part of its Bagram Outreach Program, the unit works to provide local villages with water, power, security fences and anything else that may help.

The soldiers went to the village of Gulam Ali on June 7, and brought fuel for service generators, which they acquired for the village six weeks ago. Later that day, on invitation from the village elder, they went to the opening of a new all-girls school.
The soldiers attended the school's opening to show respect for the culture and village elders, and even brought along the 101st Division Band to help celebrate the event. Still, their purpose in attending was two-fold, they said; they also went to check the school's condition and resources.

Even though the school was new, it was in need of repairs as well as lacking standard items a school should have, Goligoski said. The HSC helped facilitate acquire missing items. For example, they provided wood so the school staff could build students' desks.

"We have established a good enough relationship with the village elders that we can go straight to them if we have a problem, and they can do the same for us," Goligoski said.

Acting as sentries and "pseudo-ambassadors" are not the only tasks the HSC soldiers accomplish. They also sponsor a program that pays monetary rewards in exchange for information about weapons caches.

"We get to know the people's wants and needs, and in exchange, they provide us with information," said Goligoski, who noted the program has been very successful.

The Bagram Outreach Program and Small Rewards Program complement each other, he explained. For example, one village leader told HSC soldiers of two weapons caches. In return, he received a cash award. Later on, the same village
leader witnessed HSC soldiers repairing his village's windmills and generators. For their effort, he informed them of another weapons cache.

Similar mutually beneficial relationships are being forged in many villages around Bagram Air Base.

Security is much more than manning a 24-hour entry-control point, the soldiers said. It is also about showing the Afghan people that coalition forces can provide a positive alternative to the violence enemy fighters offer.

Army Sgt. Jessica Dahlberg serves with 382nd Public Affairs Detachment.)

1 comment:

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ISBN-13: 9781606100103
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Terrorism is perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind in the twenty-first century. It has been researched, debated, analyzed and contemplated by some of the greatest minds on the planet. And yet no known solution exists. When putting out a fire, while it is important to know what type of fire it is before attempting to put it out, firefighters understand that the key to putting out any fire is to remove its source of oxygen. Likewise, terrorism depends on popular support to sustain itself. Without popular support, the majority of funding, recruits and overall acceptance will disappear. Therefore, the primary goal for eliminating terrorism is to eliminate the sources of popular support. This book argues that this has to be the standard approach and strategy. These pages examine three primary components of contemporary American foreign policy: unilateralism, preemption and military hegemony, as well as how they impact terrorism.