Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Afghanistan’s Farah Provincial governor, key Marine Corps leaders meet

FARAH PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Key leaders of the Farah province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan met with senior leaders of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan Jan. 3, 2009, to discuss the alliance’s progress and security advancements in the southwestern province.

Col. Duffy W. White, commander of SPMAGTF-A, attended the bi-weekly meeting to introduce himself and make known his support to Farah Provincial Governor Rohullah Amin, during their first meeting together.

Other key military and security force leaders also engaged Amin on such topics as future alliance operations, budgetary expenses and policy-making in the region.

The key leaders discussed several of the positive effects seen in Farah Province, including revised legislation, progress in the logistical support of Afghan forces, increased security patrols, improved commerce and the building of schools and improvements in infrastructure, all of which support ongoing counterinsurgency operations.

“Success is really close,” Amin said of government policies, through an interpreter. “All we have to do is make good decisions.”

hough much is going well in Farah, the region is still faced with overcoming challenges. Leaders addressed the dangers children are facing in the area. Amin said he would ask for the support of Afghan elders to promote and protect the schools. Kidnappings, beatings and threats of violence by criminals and insurgents toward police still threaten progress in the area.

Financial issues were a hot topic during the meeting, though Marines are assisting through initiatives such as providing cold-weather clothing for police, as well as instructional training.

In an upcoming visit to the city of Delaram, Marines are excited the governor will have a chance to meet with newly recruited Afghan police cadets. The cadets will then be sent to a police cadet training center where they will be trained by Afghan police instructors, supervised by American law enforcement contractors and assisted by U.S. Marines.

“Where the Marines work as district leaders, there is really good coordination,” said Amin of his experience of working with U.S. Marines.

In other areas, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 3, the ground and logistics combat elements of SPMAGTF-A, are working diligently to clear highway roads of improvised explosive devices and other threats to improve security and infrastructure in the region.

“It’s getting better everyday,” said Amin. “We should continue this. There may be some problems, but we should keep going on. We will continue working well with others.”
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