SANGIN, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Police officers and Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment’s police mentor team, patrol the area surrounding forward operating base Jackson daily to provide security for the people of Sangin.
Much like the rest of Afghanistan, security is essential to every portion of Sangin’s progression. The change that has been noticed within the bazaar near FOB Jackson is a sign of the progress made by the security forces.
“When we first got here there was only about 100 meters of shops in the bazaar now there is about one or two kilometers of shops,” said Cpl. Mason Stevens, a team leader for the police advisory team with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “A lot of the shop owners are getting more produce in and the security has improved with the ANP patrolling on their own out at the check points.”
Training the police on the proper techniques and the best ways to police the local populace is one of the major goals of the PMT. Helping them become better police officers not only changes the face of the security effort in the region but allows for more security efforts to be implemented because the increased competency of the Afghan security forces.
“It’s showing the Afghan people that the Afghan police are trying and are working the bazaar trying to keep it secure and trying to make Sangin a peaceful place again,” said Stevens.
Discipline, an integral part of any organization, is one of the most difficult things to teach the police officers. While the desire to protect their people and their community exists, the efforts of coalition forces to train them is essential to their success. Members of the PMT rely on the non-commissioned officers to get this message across.
“Teaching them self discipline is really hard,” said Stevens, 22, from Murietta, Calif. “A lot of them do show improvements in their discipline, it’s just the NCOs for the ANP that have to get on the other ANP to get the job done and its been happening.”
The determination of the members of the PMT and the Afghan police officers in the area has set the foundation for a bright future in Sangin.
“Everybody should do their part to bring security to Afghanistan,” said Sgt. Fazilrahman, 19, a police officer in Sangin, from Samangan province. “We hope that we can bring peace here and give the people things like schools and hospitals to make their lives better.”