Photo Information

Sgt. Mark Peters, a squad leader with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, engages an Afghan resident during a patrol through Safaar, Afghanistan, Aug. 10, 2010. The Marines of 3/1 are developing relationships with local Afghans, following a clearing operation to rid the area of Taliban presence and intimidation. Peters is from Chicago.

Photo by Cpl. Skyler Tooker

Marines develop relationships with Afghans following Safaar clearing

10 Aug 2010 | Cpl. Skyler Tooker

The Marines of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment are making the Safaar area of Garmsir District a safer place for Afghans.

Following the clearing phase of Operation Roadhouse, a clearing operation to rid the southern Afghanistan town of Safaar of Taliban presence, Marines and Afghan soldiers are patrolling the area to establish rapport and relationships with the people of Safaar.

“We have finished clearing the bazaar here and now we are moving on to the hold phase,” said Sgt. Mark Peters, a squad leader with Lima Company, 3/1.

Afghan residents of the Safaar area have been without a government and have lived with the Taliban in control of the area for more than 30 years.

“We want them to be able to approach us instead of us forcing ourselves on them like the Taliban has done in the past,” said Peters, from Chicago.

Peters spoke with Safaar residents regarding the current living conditions in the area.

“Just establishing security here, especially since the Taliban still has a strong presence here, will help put the people at rest, letting them sleep better at night knowing we are here pushing the Taliban out,” said Peters. “Ever since the Taliban has been present here, they have been telling these people what to do. The Taliban would enforce a curfew not allowing the people to leave their houses at nighttime.”

With Ramadan underway, the security the Marines provide will allow the Safaar residents to observe the religious occasion in peace.

“Now during the month of Ramadan the locals here have to pray at certain times at night. With us being here and having a good hold on Safaar bazaar, we can allow these people here to move freely whenever they need to go practice their religious beliefs,” Peters said.