22 May 2008

PR# 2008-205

ISAF’s comprehensive approach in Surobi a success

Italian ISAF troops discover a weapons cache in Regional Command Capital.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Italian troops of Regional Command Capital along with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) worked in cooperation with locals and authorities to increase security in Surobi, a sensitive gateway to the Afghan Capital.


Surobi is a district inhabited by 150,000 people, located 60 kilometres east of the Afghan capital which has often been considered a recuperation area for insurgents.

In the last five months, there has been a significant increase in the collaboration between ISAF troops and the Afghan National Security Forces, leading to increasingly good relationships with the local population and authorities and to greater security in the district.

Engaging locals constantly and comprehensively and embedding a motivated Afghan National Army (ANA) platoon have been instrumental in gaining an understanding of the area, while dedicating the same ISAF and ANA patrol leaders to each village have cultivated trust and friendship and raised the respect of the ANA in the area.

An Italian ISAF doctor provides medical care in Regional Command Capital.

Task Force Surobi, the Italian unit totalling approximately 140 men and consisting of target acquisition and mountain paratroopers, have recovered a dramatically increased number of weapon and ammunition caches this year: more than 60 in the first four months against 22 throughout the whole year 2007. All recoveries were due to directions provided by local elders, a sign of the confidence built by ISAF soldiers through daily meetings and periodic shuras (councils) often held at the task force compound, where issues like security, reconstruction and community needs are productively discussed with the local governor.

ISAF has also helped build relationships by providing medical and humanitarian assistance, even in remote areas. The Italian government has also helped ISAF troops to implement a number of security and reconstruction and development projects with $2 million donation: dozens of wells, the renewal of the local police station, a library, a school, a new pavilion for the district hospital and several road and pedestrian bridges.

The constant presence on the ground and provision of basic services by ISAF has helped improve relationships, leading to spontaneous surrendering of poppy plants by local farmers in the last eight weeks (more than 16 tons) and formal engagements signed by local leaders to improve security in their areas.

All indication are that ISAF’s comprehensive approach of combining security and unconditional assistance to empower cooperative local leaders and gain support of locals, is being successful and creating room for steady improvement.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 -