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WORLD NEWS 15
Army April 14, 2011
Shuras strengthen ties
By Spc Edward Garibay, US Army
ONE of the biggest challenges when entering
a new area in Afghanistan is earning the trust
and confidence of the local community.
With the opening of Patrol Base Mohammed,
many people of the Mirabad Valley in Uruzgan
province are seeing Afghan National Army
(ANA) personnel for the first time.
Civil affairs team leader for the Uruzgan
Provincial Reconstruction team (PRT) Capt
Patrick Blue, US Army, said Afghan National
Security Forces were beginning to lay the
groundwork for stability in the region.
The PRT engages with members of the com-
munity, reassures villagers, listens to their griev-
ances and presents a familiar face.
"We tend to hear the same grievances in
every area, but these people are happy to see us,"
Capt Blue said. "They know we bring security."
Soldiers at Patrol Base Mohammed hope
to bring that security to the Mirabad Valley by
denying the Taliban the ability to access popu-
lated areas before the spring fighting season
Capt Blue said the new patrol base was help-
ing to build confidence with local leaders.
"I think it's really quite telling of what one
leader thought of the new patrol base. His words
exactly were, 'I'm not scared any more'."
He said once security was established, the
Afghan Government could come in and start
improving living conditions for the community
and bring stability.
To this end, local town elders in Charmestan
called a meeting to discuss their security needs
with the ANA and Coalition forces.
Commander 3rd Kandak, 4 Bde, ANA,
Lt-Col Said Serajudin attended the shura to
speak with the community.
"We don't have to let the enemy divide the
people of Mirabad," Lt-Col Serajudin told the
"We want to bring the people to the govern-
ment and the government to the people."
OC MTF 2 Combat Team Bravo Maj
Brenton Pearce said the locals wanted to open
the lines of communication. He said security
was of the greatest importance to the locals and
the shura helped relay these messages.
"Just like we want to feel safe in our homes,
they want to feel safe too," Maj Pearce said.
"This shura was the first step to harvesting an
ongoing and positive relationship with the com-
munity and bringing opportunity to the people."
Making friends: Mentoring team leader Lt Christian Johnston
looks on as his ANA counterpart speaks with an Afghan community
member near Patrol Base Mohammed. Village leaders (inset) speak
up during the shura.
Photos by Spc Edward Garibay
Community consultation: Villagers from Charmestan speak
with leaders from the ANA and their Australian mentors about the
presence of a new patrol base in the area.
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