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Task Force Protector Continues Security Force Assistance

July 26, 2012

By Capt. Mike Barth

CAMP SABALU-HARRISON, Afghanistan -- It is July 3, 2012, and service members assigned to Task Force Protector here continue to partner with Afghan National Army military police to further the transfer of facilities of the Detention Facility in Parwan to the government of Afghanistan.

Transferring facilities of the DFIP to the ANA has been the mission for Task Force Protector since the unit's arrival in Jan. 2012; however, the signing of the memorandum of understanding between General John Allen, commander, International Security Assistance Force, and General Abdul Rahim Wardak, defense minister of Afghanistan, established a timeframe wherein the facilities in the DFIP will be transferred to Afghan management by Sept. 2012.

U.S. Army Col. Robert M. Taradash, commander, Task Force Protector, stressed to his personnel that Security Force Assistance is the single most important concept that they will implement during their rotation. He said it reflects a fundamental milestone in the campaign and the evolution in relations with the ANA. With this evolution, the campaign progresses from one focused on coalition-led operations, to one that supports ANSF to the fore, the development of the ANA military police, enabling them to conduct independent operations, Taradash said.

The primary obligation for Task Force Protector, during this transfer, is the secure and humane care, custody and control of the detainees within the DFIP, said Taradash.

To ensure this standard is maintained during the transfer, members of Task Force Protector work shoulder to shoulder with their ANA counterparts daily to assist them in establishing an operational knowledge base of Detention Operations.

Once initial training is complete, the partners conduct daily operations within the DFIP ranging from guard force duties, to entry control point training and even routine medical care.

"There is a psychological shift in the ANA guard force when they lead operations within the DFIP," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth J. Tauke, commander, Task Force Tar Heel. Tauke is responsible for operations inside the DFIP. "The ANA know that they are responsible for the success of the mission, and it shows," he said.

Task Force Protector utilizes three specialty groups designed specifically for Security Force Assistance roles. The Detention Operations Command Advisory Team partners with the commander of the ANA Detention Operations Command, Maj. Gen. Ghulam Farouq Barekzai. The Division Advisory Team assists Brig. Gen. Safiullah, commander, ANA Military Police Division, on establishing an ANA military police division capable of conducting detention operations both in Parwan and Pol-e-Charkhi. The Brigade Advisory Team assists Brig. Gen. Shabudeen, commander, ANA Military Police Brigade Parwan, on the establishment of an Afghan military police brigade responsible for the day-to-day detention operations of the DFIP.

"The learning curve for our partners is steep," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. John A. Smith, officer in charge, Task Force Protector Brigade Advisory Team. "However, they are succeeding in a short amount of time compared to the pattern of historical changes in Afghanistan."

Members of Task Force Protector have learned that their counterparts are very capable of running the day-to-day operations of the DFIP, and the ANA in turn have accepted the challenge and, according to Smith, are succeeding in accomplishing the agreements established in the memorandum of understanding.

"As the ANA takes the lead in DFIP operations for Afghan administrative detainees, they are being held to the same international standards of secure and humane care, custody, and control as we are," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Niave F. Knell, deputy commander, Task Force Protector. "Our security force assistance efforts - both in the housing units and on the ANA [Logistics Support Area] with the leaders and staff - will assist them in developing that capable and ready force, which will in turn lead to their success."

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