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58th MP Co. builds enduring bonds in Afghanistan

Published: 05:18PM May 24th, 2012
58th MP Co. builds enduring bonds in Afghanistan

Sgt. Ryan Hohman/2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs

1st Lt. Danelle Gamble, a 58th MP Co. platoon leader, speaks to Col. Ajmael Ahamdzai, commander of the Afghan Uniformed Police of Sub District 4. The two leaders visited several compounds to discuss the concerns of local citizens. Sgt. Ryan Hohman/2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Afghan Uniformed Police of Sub District 4 conducted a joint patrol with 58th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion Soldiers Sunday in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

One of the main goals of 58th MP Co. patrols is to help build a strong, positive relationship between the local populace and the AUP.

“During our time in Kandahar City we have focused on transitioning the (AUP) from a paramilitary mindset and practice to more of a community policing tactic,” 1st Lt. Danelle Gamble, a 58th MP Co. platoon leader, said. “The goal in having the AUP in the lead is to transition them to a policing tactic that builds a relationship with the community.”

Building a good relationship is very important to the AUP to ensure they are able to perform their role as protectors of the city.

“Today was good and we talked with the people to see their problems and try and find out how we can help them,” Col. Ajmael Ahamdzai, Afghan Uniformed Police Sub District 4 commander, said.

The relationship built between the AUP and the locals will allow them to create a safer and more secure neighborhood.

“Building a relationship with the community is huge in the city in order to keep the insurgents from gaining a stronghold,” Gamble said. “If we are able to facilitate a relationship between the AUP and the local populace, to include men, women and children, then that will prevent the insurgents from being able to break that bond the AUP have created.”

During the patrol, the 58th MP Co., along with their AUP partners, stopped at different compounds to discuss the concerns of the locals and what the AUP could do to help. At the beginning of the 12-month deployment, the MPs were not always welcomed with smiles and handshakes.

“When we first got into Sub District 4, it didn’t matter where we went, there were rocks and tomatoes thrown at us,” Gamble said.

As time went on, 58th MP Co. troops and AUP officers solidified a positive bond with the people by listening and addressing their concerns and the rocks and tomatoes stopped.

“It is definitely an improvement in the area and it shows that not only are we able to build a positive relationship with the people,” Gamble said, “but also the AUP have been able to mimic us and have built a positive relationship as well.”

The AUP feel the benefit of the trust.

“I have worked hard with my people and now the AUP and (International Security Assistance Forces) trust each other,” Ahamdzai said. “With the good training we received from the (58th MP Co.) we have had less killed from IEDs and ambushes from the enemy.”

Working with the AUP of Sub District 4 for the past 12 months has been a learning experience for the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division MPs and allowed them to make everlasting bonds that have benefitted security.

“We have worked with some of these guys for 12 months and you really do start to build an extremely strong bond and you start to rely on each other out in patrol,” Gamble said. “I believe that in security operations and in community policing operations, that the AUP of (Sub District 4) are on the path to being in the lead.”

The 58th MP Co.’s efforts have strengthened the confidence and ability of the AUP.

“We can see the training is working because the searches are going good,” Ahamdzai said. “When people see us driving down the road they are happy.”

As the 58th MP Co.’s tour comes to an end, leaders believe they leave evidence of their enduring impact on Sub District 4.

“To see the AUP moving from a paramilitary mindset into one that engages with the local populace is a huge success for us and we look at that and we consider this entire deployment successful,” Gamble said. “I think it is just a matter of maintaining the leadership and continuity within the city and these guys will be ready to carry on 100 percent.”