By Air Force Capt. Tony Wickman
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 18, 2009 - The Konar Provincial Reconstruction Team conducted a power assessment in Dam Kalay village in Asadabad district here, an event that offered security force members the opportunity to patrol with their Afghan counterparts. This was the reconstruction team's first walking foot patrol through the village with the Afghan National Police. The interaction was beneficial for both, team members said.
"The patrol went well and it was a good experience," said Army 2nd Lt. Stewart Brough, security force platoon leader for the team. "When locals see our [Afghan] counterparts and us out together, it gives them confidence."
Brough said part of the team commander's intent is to put an Afghan face to the government's efforts in the province, and that includes security.
Army Pvt. Daniel Hancock, team security force member from Las Vegas, said it was helpful to work with the local police.
"This patrol will help us integrate better with the [Afghan police] and them with us," he said. "It also gives people confidence in their local police to protect them."
Hancock noted that the team's security members gained some cultural insights during the patrol. Afghan police pointed out a section of the river that village elders didn't want the patrol to cross because local women were gathering water, he said.
"So, on the patrol the [Afghan police] was able to tell us, so we could hold up until the women were gone to keep everyone safe and happy," Hancock said.
In turn, Hancock said, the Afghan police offered valuable help with security.
The patrol was deemed a success, Brough said.
"In the end, I was able to interact with my counterpart and he was comfortable working with me," he said. "We have an appreciation for what they do and treat them as professionals."
(Air Force Capt. Tony Wickman serves in the Konar Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs.)