Spartan 3 Truck Commander Army Sgt. David Floyd discusses ways to position themselves with an Afghan National Army (ANA) officer to ensure proper traffic flow along a busy road near Afghanistan's "Loya Jirga” Sunday. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1(SW/AW) Chris Fahey)
KABUL – During the recent four-day Loya Jirga, members of Task Force Spartan 3 conducted more than 10 intelligence-led high-risk advisory missions to help Afghan National Police protect their country's 2,000 tribal leaders.
The jirga, or grand council, allowed elders to discuss national issues with President Hamid Karzai – a long-standing Afghan practice – and was publically condemned by insurgent leaders who pressed their fighters to disrupt by any means possible.
"The Afghan National Army, Police and Directorate of National Security units did an outstanding job protecting their people,” said Commander, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger. "Despite attempts, insurgents failed to disrupt this process thanks to the outstanding performance of our Afghan counterparts and their coalition combat advisors.”
Stood up in early September, Task Force Spartan 3 was charged by Commander, Task Force Yankee Brig. Gen. John A. Hammond to serve as combat advisors to ANP officials at more than 50 different checkpoints within five Afghan police districts spread out across the densely populated city of more than 3.9 million people.
Spartan 3 mentors work shoulder to shoulder with ANP officers, demonstrating ways to identify possible vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED), vehicle and personnel searches and how to set up traffic control points.
"We continue to see constant improvement,” said Spartan 3 Team Leader Army Staff Sgt. Mark Moon. "They search people and vehicles better without us having to point out which vehicles they should pull over. They are able to pick out the targets and secure threats themselves.”
Due to the culture, men are not authorized to search Afghan women. The action would be considered an offense to their honor. Female Soldiers assigned to Spartan 3 advise female ANP officers on how to thoroughly search other women. A job Spartan 3 women find incredibly rewarding.
"Our job is simple – we teach the female Afghan police officers how to better search women suspected of carrying contraband or weapons,” said Spartan 3 Gunner Army Specialist Lori Sorrells. "Personally, this is an amazing job. To interact with the ANP, get a grasp on their culture and to be in a position to help is a great honor.”
Activated in 2009, NTM-A is a coalition of 37 contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) ready to take lead of their country's security by 2014.
Story by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Chris Fahey,
NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan Public Affairs