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PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – At the culmination of 18 months of arduous schooling 29 Afghan women were finally ready to receive their diplomas and take their oaths as midwives. The Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. Soldiers were determined to allow them to do so proudly, publicly, and safely despite recent security concerns.
Under the watchful eye of the joint security detail the graduation ceremony took place in Charikar, the capitol of Parwan province, April 10, where the women were able to celebrate their accomplishment at a public ceremony with their families, friends, and government officials in attendance.
To ensure the safety of the graduation ceremony the Afghan National Police, Afghan National Army and U.S. Soldiers attached to 1st Squadron, 172st Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, stationed at the Operational Coordination Center – Provincial, worked shoulder-to-shoulder to plan and execute the security for the event. With the ANP at the forefront, the three forces seamlessly wove together to create a silent yet ironclad curtain of protection, allowing for not only the success of this ceremony but also a stepping stone for future operations.
“Plain and simple its COIN (Counter Insurgency 101), but it goes beyond winning hearts and minds now. It’s more about empowering communities to take charge of their own situations and events. It’s not just about empowering women, but the community as a whole,” said Maj. Timothy McCollum, the executive officer of the OCC-P.
That is why Master Sgt. Donald Demar, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge gave the directive “quiet like mice,” to his OCC-P Soldiers, to remind them to operate behind the scenes and let the ANP be the face of the mission, while they were there for support if needed.
“Our job is coordinating and mentoring them to give them a common operating picture,” said McCollum.
The event was 90 percent ANP, 10 percent ANA, and every substation from the fire station down to the medical care was aware of the event, it was truly a combined effort, he added.
The ANP Gate Commander Abdul Qadur agreed that the mission was a success and a great learning experience for the future.
“It was great because we made a plan and decided how to pull security. My Soldiers were covering the dangerous areas outside and the U.S. Soldiers were inside where the ceremony was. It was a good experience to plan and do the event together,” said Qadur through a translator.
Although the OCC-P Soldiers’ role at the ceremony may have been a silent one, the result of their involvement in the planning, execution and overall success of joint operation was a deafening declaration for the security of Parwan.
“I hope all plans for security for Afghanistan’s future are successful,” said Qadur. “My Soldiers (ANP) are very happy to pull security for their country. When they watch Americans serve their country they are even more interested to help.”
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