DEMAZONG, Afghanistan --
Afghan National Army soldiers conducted vechicle checkpoint operations, Oct. 18, in an effort to halt the flow of illegal items from entering the country along Route 606, one of the few paved roads in Afghanistan.
The ANA soldiers, with assistance from Marines with Bravo Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), checked passing vehicles for contraband, including materials used to make improvised explosive devices, the Taliban’s weapon of choice against coalition forces.
“We were there to let people know we care for their well-being, while looking for illegal items,” said Cpl. Scott F. Ballantine, a security team leader with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, CLB-2.
The Afghans being searched in the checkpoint knew the stop was necessary for their safety, and most of them were completely cooperative with the ISAF troops.
The security Marines and Afghan soldiers worked as a team to accomplish the mission.
“The ANA were friendly to us,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Longmile, a military policeman with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, CLB-2. “They wanted to interact with us, and they were eager to let us assist them. We had a really good working relationship and everything went well.”
The Marines originally thought they would have to teach the Afghan soldiers how to conduct vehicle searches, but ended up learning a few things themselves.
“We were not teaching them anything; they were already proficient with searching the cars and talking to the civilians,” said Longmile, 24, from Knoxville, Tenn. “We were really just more hands, and everyone was doing a good job. I actually learned a lot about Afghan culture while working with the ANA.”
The ANA were able to gather valuable information from passing civilians regarding suspicious activity in the area.
“Some people would warn us if they saw anything suspicious nearby,” said Ballantine. “If the ANA weren’t there, we wouldn’t have been able to get those warnings because we don’t speak Pashtoo. They give a voice to the coalition forces.”