GARMSIR DISTRICT, HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan --
Maneuvering through the bazaar crowd during the week’s busiest day, Marines from Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, patrolled the Hazer Joft bazaar in Garmsir, Afghanistan, June 2, to provide security and interact with bazaar patrons.
Fridays at the Hazer Joft bazaar is the most crowded day of the week, and the most challenging day for Marines to patrol. Local residents sell all kinds of food, electronics and clothing to Afghans from neighboring villages.
Daily patrols through the bazaar help the people feel more comfortable in the area. Maintaining the high level of security in the area helps the local businesses thrive.
“Providing security makes them feel comfortable to come out of their homes and establish their business,” said Sgt. Marvin H. Tario, the sergeant of the guard with H&S Co., 3/1.
The Marines spoke with many of the storeowners and other people in the local populace throughout the patrol. Keeping the high level of security and good relationship with the people allows for a better flow of information.
“We were talking to some of the storekeepers and the local citizens of Garmsir about the security that the Afghanistan forces and Marines have been providing and what areas they believe to be dangerous. The battalion is focused on providing security for the people of Garmsir and the development of the Afghanistan forces,” said 1st Sgt Michael P. Perez, the company first sergeant for H&S Co., 3/1.
Building upon the relationship that has been established with the local people is an important mission for the Marines in Garmsir District. As the people feel safer, they are more inclined to come forward with information and avoid Taliban pressure and influences.
Even though the area around Forward Operating Base Delhi, with the help of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and the police mentoring team placed at the district center, is very secure, it is still very important to provide as much security as possible.
“I think it is very important that local Afghans feel confident that they can go and wonder about their community and bazaar freely,” said Perez, 34, from San Bernardino, Calif.
The ultimate goal for the Marines at FOB Delhi is the training of the ANA and ANCOP to provide the security themselves.
“The bazaar itself is already pretty secure with the ANA, the ANP and the police mentor team, but us showing face gives them a little more security,” said Cpl. Rene Sanchez, a squad leader with H&S Co., 3/1.
“It just backs up everything the Marines before us built up.”