The Afghan Uniformed Police of Police Sub-Station 16, of Sub-District 4 in Kandahar, Afghanistan conducted a search of shops and compounds with Military Police of the 58th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, May 23.
The purpose of this search was to allow the AUP of PSS 16 to lead the way in providing security and safety to the people within their area.
“Today the mission was a joint search with AUP in the lead of specific compounds in the area that have had some situations in the past,” said Staff Sgt. Gordon Williams, who serves as a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, 58th MP Company. “The idea was to go out there and get the AUP talking to the people and searching the compound to see if there was any contraband in the area.”
The mission proved to be successful with AUP taking the lead role when searching for contraband and gaining the respect of the Afghan civilians.
“Today’s operation was very good. The [AUP] knew how to do the operation, and they knew how to interact with the people,” said Lt. Ali Ahmad, who serves as the commander of PSS 16. “Right now our relationship is really good with the Afghan people, because many people are happy and helping with the government.”
The key in strengthening the growing relationship between the Afghan people and the AUP hinges on their ability for the people to see their police in the lead.
“It is important to see the AUP out there in the lead taking charge and showing that our efforts here haven’t been a waste, and that they understand that we are training the AUP,” said Williams. “The AUP are ready to take the country on their own by providing security and community policing projects and take care of the communality as policemen here.”
Having the AUP in the lead is crucial as the U.S. forces shift to a more advisory role in Afghanistan.
“ [The Afghans] need to see that our training is helping the AUP so that they will be ready to take over this country and provide all security that is necessary in order to perform all of the policing projects they will be doing without our assistance at all,” said Williams.
The AUPs ability to take the lead did not happen overnight. The MPs with the 58th MP Company have been training with the AUP to ensure they are fully prepared to take command of their area.
“There have been challenges. There is obviously the language barrier and cultural challenges with the way they operate, and the way things are here in this country as opposed to the U.S.,” said Williams. “When we got here it was hard for them to talk to people and do certain things because of their culture.”
The 58th MP Company was able to overcome these setbacks and ensure the AUP were prepared to take the lead.
“The big way we overcame [setbacks was] by understanding where the AUP are coming from, and how they see things,” said Williams. “By not just going out there and doing it the American way, but taking a step back and talking with the AUP and seeing how they see how it should be done.”
This process proved to be extremely beneficial to the AUP.
“It was really nice to train with the 58th MP Company, because now my guys know how we can properly search people and track them,” said Ahmad.
As the AUP continue to gain the ability to function on their own and lead the way in protecting their own people and their confidence continues to grow as well.
“I am so proud of my uniform. I am proud that I get to keep security for all of the civilians around our station,” said Ahamad. “As long as I am alive, I will be working with the government in helping to keep [Afghans] safe.”
Article by Sgt. Ryan Hohman, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division