War on Terrorism

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Soldiers Boost Security for Afghan National Elections

By Army Spc. Eugene H. Cushing
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 4, 2009 - Afghan National Police and U.S. military police assigned to Task Force Mountain Warrior conducted training here to boost security for Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election. Army 1st Lt. Michael T. Nicholson, platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, 984th Military Police Company, 759th Military Police Battalion, led his unit in a district partnership training with the Afghan police July 14 and 15 at the Manogai Police Station.

Nicholson, of Burnsville, Minn., said the goal of the training was to ensure Afghan police are able to effectively operate on their own during the scheduled Aug. 20 elections.

The soldiers conducted two days of training with the Afghan police, said Army Sgt. Christopher C. Silva, of Boston, a squad leader with 2nd platoon. On the first day, they met with the police chief and his officers and assessed the station's armament, personnel and facilities.

"The second day we finished the assessment and started training for the elections," Silva said.

The training included instruction on personnel, vehicle and building searches; reacting to explosive devices and small-arms fire; setting up and operating checkpoints; administering first aid; emergency response; crowd control; and force protection.

Afghan National Police Maj. Sali Mohammed, the operations officer for Shigal district police station, said the training was highly beneficial.

The Afghan police officers will take what they learned back to their police stations and train their fellow officers, Mohammed said.

Army Cpl. Marcus R. Bennett, of Thermopolis, Wyo., a team leader assigned to 2nd Platoon, is an experienced military policeman who said he was glad to share his knowledge with his Afghan counterparts.

Bennett said he taught the Afghan police how to search for weapons, explosives, drugs and other potentially dangerous items.

"I enjoyed working with the Afghans," he said. "That was the first time I got to get out and teach them."

Nicholson described the Afghan police as motivated and willing to learn.

"They're very friendly," he said. "They share everything they know. They're willing to try the stuff we teach them, so it's been very positive."

(Army Spc. Eugene H. Cushing serves in the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)

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