7 May 2007

PR# 2007-358

Nangarhar leaders plot progress in Khogyani

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A shura held in the Khogyani District of Nangarhar Province, on April 29, exemplified the efforts and cooperation among the local government, Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police and ISAF personnel.

Elders filled the meeting room of a village primary school to discuss their concerns with the area’s leaders. The biggest issue discussed was how to move the district in a positive direction. The shura also covered health, education and moving away from a poppy-driven economy.

The district’s police chief, an ANA commander, an ISAF company commander with Task Force Spartan attended the shura along with the Nangarhar provincial chief of police, ANP Col. Abdul Ghafar.

“It was a positive and uplifting event sponsoring education and health as the building blocks towards a prosperous Afghanistan,” said Capt. Perry Stiemke, Task Force Spartan’s Alpha Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. “It also postured the government as the patron of this change with the people supporting the government.”

The shura, which lasted several hours, included a performance by a children’s choir and a play, with teachers and students playing the roles of police and citizens. The play’s plot took the audience through the plight of a man who becomes addicted to drugs and how that harmed his community.

Another issue discussed was how to increase professionalism in the ranks of the area’s police force. Both the ANA and ANP have been working hard to gain the trust of the people. Their reputation is important to their success, said Stiemke.

“The work we are doing with the ANA and ANP will have a lasting effect with the people,” Stiemke said. “As long as those forces have a positive image with the people, it will help the government.”

“I appreciate your openness and assure you that we share the same concerns,” Ghafar said. “Our most important task is increasing the area’s security.”

The cooperation among all organizations involved has been key to the area’s security and progress, officials said.  Although the circumstances are delicate, the relationship is strong.

“We will work hard to better the police force,” Ghafar said. “We will work to improve our organization and work hard with our partners to bring security and tranquillity to the area.”

“[Security] is a living entity that has to be constantly maintained to maximize effects while efficiently using scarce materials such as fuel, ammunition and force protection material,” Stiemke explained. “The partnership shows the people that the government cares about their safety and provides adequate force to maintain it.”

The partnership also allows the relatively young Afghan National Security Forces a chance to mature into the force they have already shown potential to become, he said.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/