For the most part, the needs of the sub-governor parallel those of the nine other Parwan sub-governors. The district needs roads, wells, irrigation and water.
Unlike some of the other districts the PRT has visited, the terrain was extremely rugged, which made the drive difficultfor some of the vehicles.
“The drive was nerve wracking,” U.S. Army Sgt. Julian Marlowe, PRT security element and truck commander, said.
A lot of the switchbacks on the route were on inclines. His vehicle had to be put into four-wheel drive, and “I would have to help my driver, U.S. Army Spc. Charlie Brown, turn the wheel,” he said.
While U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kyle Higgins, Parwan PRT commander, and Ethan Glick, Parwan PRT’s Department of State representative, met with the provincial sub-governor and the chief of police to discuss their issues, the rest of the team pulled security and tried to engage with some of the local Afghans.
“I was with the civil affairs team, and we tried to talk to some folks,” Marlowe said.
The first place they went to was a school. The students were in class, so the group decided to do a foot patrol up the side of a hill about 300 meters up. The group stopped at an Afghan National Police observation point and tried to engage with the ANP there.
“We didn’t have an interpreter, so the language barrier got in the way,” he said. “We did see a lot of the villages in the valley, which was a good thing.”
What stands out the most in Marlowe’s mind about Kohe Safi is the terrain.
“It’s just rough terrain,” he said. “The people out there are living ruggedly to me. To get to school, children have to walk over hills and mountains. You can actually see the trails they have to walk.”
Marlowe felt good about this mission because it was not as kinetic as he thought it would be.
“We went in there thinking, from a security stand point, that it was a really bad place, but once we got there, the stress level went down a little bit,” he said.
Just because one place may be less kinetic than another does not mean Parwan PRT members do not have to prepare for the mission. A lot of things can go wrong from a vehicle breaking down to communications going out. Truck Commanders also have to make sure everyone in their vehicles is properly equipped. Parwan PRT members also have to adapt to each location.
“Each village is different. You have to really think about how you’re treating the people and interacting with them compared to the other villages you go to,” Marlowe said.
One of the many lessons learned on this trip was that some of the members are not as fit as they thought they were.
“Going up that 300-meter hill whipped our butts,” he said.
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