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Lt. Safiullah Ahmidi, 22, executive officer Now Zad company, from Kabul, Afghanistan, says, “We are very happy to have the Marines here. Before them, we didn’t have good training or coordination. Now we can do these things on our own. It helps us a lot to have good training, we see the Marines next to us everyday. It shows what they are willing to do for us. It’s very good.” The Afghan National Security Forces in Now Zad are partnered with four-man teams from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines who eat, live, patrol and guide them constantly.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm

Marines in Helmand partner, mentor in Now Zad

9 Feb 2012 | Staff Sgt. Robert Storm

As Afghanistan’s leadership seeks to take increasing control of its own country, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines find themselves conducting more training and advisory positions to Afghan National Security Forces.

“We’re working toward ANSF development,” said Capt. Isaac Moore, 35, Afghan national adviser team officer in charge, from Wasilla, Alaska. “The goal is to make them better and get them in the lead. We want to transfer security to them.”

In previous years, Marines regularly engaged the enemy, clearing and conducting security operations throughout Helmand Province, Afghanistan. These kinetic operations led to the buildup of multiple outposts throughout the province.

When Marines went out to patrol or conduct missions, the ANSF would send small teams to accompany the Marines in order to learn and gain experience. The ANSF were able to rely on Marine firepower and technology, but by themselves were limited in their ability to maintain stability and control in an area. Over the years, as enemy forces have become crippled and suppressed, Marines have been able to transfer many posts to the ANSF and focus on training army and police forces.

“We have four man teams that spend all day, every day with the Afghans,” Staff Sgt. Nicholas Jones said, 29, Tolai adviser team leader, from Fontana, Calif. “We originally were barracked with other Marines, but we moved to the Afghan compound when we became embedded. Our main focus is to build leadership within the Afghan Army.”

To accomplish this, those four-man Marine teams are partnered with the Afghan forces in every aspect; they eat, live, and patrol with them, all the while providing guidance. They train on every aspect of military operations; placement of posts, guard operations, counter IED techniques, planning and conducting security patrols as well as other military tactics and techniques.

“This is almost a complete reversal from previous years when the Afghans would have teams accompanying the Marines to learn, now we accompany them,” Jones said. “We teach them basic stuff like map reading, reporting procedures and anything else that will help them as we transition them to take control of their AO (area of operations), we want to push them into that final stage.”

The ANSF realize and appreciate what the Marines have done for them. Lt. Safiullah Ahmidi, 22, executive officer Now Zad company, from Kabul, Afghanistan speaks through a translator Muhammad Kazim Barati, 22.

“We are very happy to have the Marines here. Before them, we didn’t have good training or coordination. Now we can do these things on our own. It helps us a lot to have good training, we see the Marines next to us every day. It shows what they are willing to do for us. It’s very good,” Ahmidi said.

E-mail Staff Sgt. Robert M. Storm at robert.storm@afg.usmc.mil

Editor’s note: The “Magnificent Bastards” 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, are currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6, which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.