Story and photo by MC1 Gino Flores
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan – In preparation for the eventual drawdown of coalition security forces, coalition mentor teams are busy imparting their skills to the Afghan National Security Forces responsible for keeping law and order.
On any given day in Afghanistan, teams of mentors train various components of Afghan forces, building a foundation and taking steps to improve upon standard operating procedures. One of these advisers is 2nd Lt. Drew Miller, a mentor for the Afghan National Civil Order Police’s 5th Brigade in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province.
“We show the ANCOP the Marines’ way of doing business, which provides guidelines for them to learn and incorporate new methods and procedures in their battalion,” said Miller, who is deployed as part of the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward).
The ANCOP are a localized arm of the national police force established to provide security within cities and villages. The average recruit has a sixth grade education, and they are usually recruited to specially trained elite units, ready to provide force protection or crises and antiterrorism response.
The Marines conduct hands-on training of the policemen in marksmanship, medical, map reading and basic force protection skills.
“We are helping the ANCOP stand on their own two feet, taking the best of both Marines’ and ANCOP’s ways of doing business and developing a fresh approach that sometimes leads to a unique solution when both methods are merged,” said Miller, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Miller’s team of Marines spends every day living and operating alongside the ANCOP policemen they advise. The Marines and Afghans build bonds by exchanging ideas and tapping into common interests, such as sports and cultural events.
Millers’ mentor team supports, guides and develops the Afghans’ administrative, operations, logistics and communications expertise and capabilities.
Building a close relationship between the mentors and the police is the cornerstone of the transferability of skills throughout the police force, Miller explained.
“The ANCOP police force is motivated and cares about their country,” said Miller. “They are strong people and right now they are in a difficult situation, however that has made them more resilient.”
“This has been a rewarding experience working hand in hand with the Afghan National Civil Order Police,” he continued. “They are willing to persevere and see it through to the end in order to have the ability to provide security on their own for Afghanistan.”