UK Forces handover checkpoints to Afghan Police in Nad-e Ali
Later this month, the process of transition will formally begin in Lashkar Gah, the district capital of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The city was chosen by President Hamid Karzai as one of the first places in the country where Afghan National Security Forces will take the lead for providing security from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
It’s not only in Lashkar Gah though that the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army have increasingly been taking the lead. Over the last three months, a number of checkpoints in the Nad-e Ali District, which up until now have been run by ISAF, have been handed over to Afghan control.
In Nad-e Ali (South), where 45 Commando Royal Marines are operating, Whiskey Company have been working closely with their Afghan Uniformed Police colleagues since arriving in Helmand in April. During that time, they’ve conducted a number of joint patrols and operations with the AUP taking the lead on more and more occasions.
Lieutenant Ed Williams Royal Marines, 25, from Lincoln said:
“The last partnered operation we conducted was called TORA BASHA (Courageous Hawk) and this resulted in a number of successes including the capture of key insurgent facilitators.”
Earlier this week, Lt Williams handed over the keys to CP Meelet where he and his Marines have been based for the last three months, to the AUP commander. It means, from now on, the CP and the security in the surrounding area will be solely managed by the Afghans.
“Since we have been at CP Meelet we have seen the AUP’s ability develop significantly. They’ve worked hard to win over the confidence and trust of the locals here.
Just a few kilometres away, in Nad-e Ali (South) the Royal Marines of 42 Commando are having similar success and over the course of a month, have handed over three checkpoints to the AUP.
CP Shiran Jan Junction, which sits in between the protected communities of Chah-e-Anjir and Naqilabad Kalay, is the third that the Afghans have taken sole control of.
Thanks to the mentoring of 42 Commando and the British forces who’ve served in NDA(S) before them, the AUP are now at a stage where they can provide security permanently to the population without the need for constant ISAF supervision.
Lance Corporal Stephen Hall, 25 from Shrewsbury, is a rifleman in J Company who has been based in Shiran Jan Junction since arriving in Helmand in April:
“We’ve been patrolling this area for the past two months and there has been no violence at all in that time. The locals seem very friendly and have a strong community spirit which I think is tough enough to overpower any insurgent influence.
Once the Royal Marines from J Company were confident of the AUP’s ability, they passed responsibility of security onto them. One of the key elders in the area is Haji Misteri. He has facilitated engagement between the security forces and the population. He said:
“Although we are sad to see ISAF leave, we have a strong community and we will not let the Taliban back because we are better off without them.”