News

    Coalition Forces Train Afghan Police to Stop Taliban

    This is part one of David Axe's three part series on efforts to hand over security to Afghans. Part 2 --> http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Afghan-Alliance-in-Key-Town-Threatened-by-Mistrust-of-Police-142465085.html | Part 3 --> http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Key-Local-Afghan-Police-Force-Slow-to-Catch-On-142485755.html

    David Axe

    Two years before the scheduled departure of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition is trying to shore-up security by blocking key Taliban supply lines.

    In Marzak, Afghanistan, an isolated village along the border with Pakistan,  coalition forces are hoping that a risky local police initiative will win over villagers and help weaken the insurgency.

    U.S. and Afghan soldiers arrived in the village of Marzak in early January on a high-stakes mission to shape the conditions for the war's end.  U.S. Army Captain Jim Perkins says Marzak is the only major settlement along an important Taliban supply line.

    "Our goal is that the village of Marzak is secured and denied to the enemy," said Perkins.

    Commanders say the key will be a new locally-recruited, part-time police force called the Afghan Local Police. The coalition would have to create the unit from scratch, overcoming the villagers' ambivalence and inexperience. Nawab Khan is a police trainer who says the recruits know little about war.

    "They don't have any experience with weapons," said Khan.  "Some of the guys haven't even seen weapons before."

    The Marzak mission only began after months of negotiations with local elders. The turning point came in August, when the Taliban killed a local man they accused of spying for the coalition.

    "During Ramadan they pulled him out of the mosque -- didn't allow him to finish his prayers -- and executed him right there in front of the mosque," Perkins recalled.  "Not only was it a slap against their religion, not allowing him to finish his prayers, it also turned the tide against the Taliban for a lot of villagers."

    Marzak's elders pledged 50 men as police recruits,  half of what the coalition wanted.

    But coalition troops had a more immediate problem: building an outpost in one of the world's most inaccessible regions.

    None of Marzak's roads can support military vehicles, so coalition forces rely on aircraft to keep them supplied.

    "Often times the weather can go red, which means we're not able to fly aircraft as much. So what we've done is built a deep stockpile that allows us to operate a month if we couldn't get resupplied," Perkins explained.

    In mid-January the troops focused on training the first 50 local cops. They immediately ran into discipline problems.

    "These guys have never been in any kind of government organization, and the government hasn't been here a very long time," noted Khan.  "They don't know how government organizations work. We're having to teach them what discipline is and how to organize with the tribal elders."

    A month into the mission, the first group of local police was ready for duty. But the coalition's last-ditch effort to secure Marzak had only begun.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Freedom is not free
    March 17, 2012 12:53 AM
    Education, Knowledge, Internet and Economy are more important than Military. Why we don't help them build some universities?!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora