In the wake of a recent Afghan-led military operation called Kalak Hode 5, a security shura was held at the district center in Deh Chopan, Zabul province, Afghanistan, to assess the local population’s thoughts on the security situation in their valley.
The shura, which included elders from most of the villages in the valley, was largely a success in that the 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 205th Afghan National Army Corps was able to assess whether the villagers in the neighboring valleys were happy with the Afghan National Security Forces increased presence, and whether their presence was keeping Taliban at bay.
“The intent of the shura was to talk about the security situation,” said Maj. Troy Parrish, commander, Security Forces Assistance Team 42, whose team advises the ANA regarding their security. “Having just gone through several days of the [Kalak Hode 5] operation, they wanted to get some village feedback on how the villagers assess the security situation.”
The village elders indicated their support for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; however they were concerned about Taliban harassment that routinely occurs after visits from Afghan National Security Forces.
“One of their biggest concerns is that if they are visited by one of the [Afghan] security pillars at some time - perhaps, during the day - that they are more than likely going to be threatened by the Taliban after the army or the police leave their village,” said Parrish. “That is because it’s a matter of the two opposing forces trying to win over the people in the village, at least to be sympathetic or supportive.”
In spite of that, villagers are generally happy about the security situation where they live.
“We also had lunch with [the village elders] and they said they were real happy with ISAF [International Security Assistance Force], ANA and ANP [Afghan National Police] in bringing security to the Deh Chopan district,” said Lt. Col. Wali Mohammad, commander, 2-2-205 ANA Corps, who was present at the shura.
Even the ANA religious officer, Maj. Jamal Nasir, was optimistic about the villagers’ reaction to the increased ANSF patrols.
“As religious officer I had advice for them that they should come and join ANA and ANP and bring peace in this district and in their villages," said Nasir. "The people were happy to hear that from me. That was my message to all of them, to bring peace and no more fighting.”
Article by Sgt. Christopher McCullough, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division