Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Miller
COMBAT OUTPOST JAKER, Helmand province, Afghanistan – Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, visited the Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment here, Oct. 31.
Crocker used the visit as an opportunity to see firsthand the progress Afghan security forces and the district government are making in Nawa.
While here, the ambassador attended a shura and tour of a local bazaar at the district center hosted by Nawa District Governor Abdul Manaf.
Manaf gave praised the people of Nawa for their continued support of the Afghan Local Police program and emphasized continued progress in the district’s justice system.
“We have good governance and law enforcement in each part of Nawa District,” he said. “Now we have prosecutors and a court house and if anyone has any problems they can come to the district leadership of Nawa.”
None of this, he reminded them, would be possible without the protection of local law enforcement.
Provincial Governor Gulab Mangal, also in attendance, noted that the progress here was a work of the community as a whole.
“Nawa district is part of the transition of Helmand province because of everyone’s hard work,” Mangal said. “We hope that Helmand province will become so peaceful that we can do whatever we wish.”
Crocker emphasized that teamwork on the part of the locals will tell the story in the end. He recognized that though many nations have been involved in the partnered effort to bring security and stability to Afghanistan, it will be up to the Afghan people to maintain the progress made in their own districts.
“I have heard that many good things are being done by Afghans here in Helmand province and this district. We have been pleased to be your partners in security and economic support, but the real reason for the success here is all of you,” Crocker said. Your courage and commitment to make this community and district a better place is what accounts for the success.”
Crocker noted that the desire of the locals to support themselves and establish a solid foundation for their district has been an important step in this process.
“You have security forces, the ANP (Afghan National Police), ANA (Afghan National Army), and the ALP which you all have chosen yourselves,” he said. “You have made this district a success. You have eradicated poppy, you have created a vibrant economy and have taken security into your own hands.”
“I am proud to see with my own eyes what you all have achieved,” Crocker concluded. “The United States of America is pleased to continue to be your partners as you further develop this great district.”