Governor Naeem, Helmand province governor, Maj. Gen. David Berger, Task Force Leatherneck commanding general, and coalition and Afghan National Security Forces officials visited members of the 6th Zone Afghan Border Police at a remote location in southern Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 9.
The visit allowed Gov. Naeem, Maj. Gen. Berger and the officials the opportunity to see the 6th Zone ABP conduct a clearing operation in southern Afghanistan.
The operation, which includes four kandaks of ABP from both Helmand and Nimroz provinces, has been planned, coordinated and executed by the 6th Zone ABP commanders.
“There are several different things we are trying to accomplish during this clearing operation,” said Col. Hamidullah Sadiki, 6th Zone ABP chief of staff. “We are trying to rid the area of Taliban. We are talking to the civilians about government policy. We are also speaking to them about poppy and telling them why they should not be harvesting it. And we are also meeting with village elders to discuss what issues they have.”
During the past five days, the 6th Zone ABP has been conducting the operation and has had success accomplishing their mission.
“When we started this operation, the men had very high morale, and they were proud to be serving their country,” said Sadiki. “We have had very good coordination throughout, and we continue to keep pushing. We have found and disposed of 21 (improvised explosive devices). The men are very brave, and their morale continues to be high.”
While there is a small element of coalition advisors with the ABP during the operation, it has been and continues to be 100 percent Afghan led.
“(The advisor teams) are here solely as enabler support,” said Army Maj. Will Garrison, advisor to the 6th Zone ABP chief of staff. “There is about 500 ABP conducting the operation, and this is the first time a zone-level operation has been conducted in Helmand province.”
Although this is the first time an operation of this size has been conducted by the ABP in southern Afghanistan, the results are exactly what the soldiers were hoping to obtain.
“We have had great leadership and management,” Sadiki said. “I am very proud of my soldiers, and they are doing a great job.”
The small group of advisors embedded with the ABP is pleased with the coordination and execution of the mission, and they see the positive impact it is having.
“After seeing this operation, I think (the ABP) are doing great,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Wilburn, an ABP advisor. “They have a very strong group of soldiers who know what they are doing, and they are making this country a safer and better place.”
Article by Sgt. John Jackson, Regional Command Southwest