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Afghan Forces Take the Lead in Afghanistan

Afghan National Police patrolman Dost Mohammad (second from left) waits for vehicles to approach Checkpoint Drahbiash while U.S. Marines with Guard Force Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, interact with a local man during Operation Gridlock here, March 21, 2012. During the three-day Afghan New Year celebration, held from March 19-21 to highlight the transition from winter into spring, the partnered forces manned vehicle checkpoints throughout Helmand province’s Garmsir district to disrupt insurgent logistical movement along routes leading into its bazaars. The Afghan forces halted and searched vehicles while Marines provided overwatch from the periphery and biometrically enrolled passersby. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder/Released)

As U.S. forces drawdown in Afghanistan, Marines are taking the backseat during operations in Afghanistan and teaching Afghan forces to provide security for their own nation. Afghan National Police patrolman Dost Mohammad (second from left) waits for vehicles to approach Checkpoint Drahbiash while U.S. Marines with Guard Force Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, interact with a local man during Operation Gridlock here, March 21, 2012. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder/Released)

From logistics operations to foot patrols, the Afghan National Security Forces are increasingly taking lead security with the assistance of Marine Security Force Assistance Advisory Teams.

| More: Afghan forces build capability from both land and air |

Each advisor team varies in size and is composed of 11 to 20 Marines from an array of military occupational specialties advising the ANSF, who are helping them become a more effective and efficient fighting force.

Afghan National Civil Order Police with the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade watch as other members of the ANCOP are evaluated during the practical application portion of their training at the station here, June 18, 2013. "These guys are going to do great," said Maj. Stephen Campbell, the team leader of ANCOP Advisor Team 2 from Coral Springs, Fla. "The Kandak itself functions well without Americans or any (International Security Assistance Force) forces to assist them." (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson)

Afghan National Civil Order Police with the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade watch as other members of the ANCOP are evaluated during the practical application portion of their training at the station in Garmser District, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013. “These guys are going to do great,” said Maj. Stephen Campbell, the team leader of ANCOP Advisor Team 2 from Coral Springs, Fla. “The Kandak itself functions well without Americans or any (International Security Assistance Force) forces to assist them.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson)

Marines with the Afghan National Civil Order Police Advisor Team 2 and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, instructed the Garmser District Afghan National Civil Order Police members of the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade ANCOP, on hand signals, weapons handling, and immediate action drills at the Garmser District ANCOP station June 17 and 18.

“They are an extremely professional and disciplined group,” said Maj. Stephen Campbell, the team leader of ANCOP Advisor Team 2. “They catch on quick and have an eagerness to learn anything that we can teach them, not to mention that they are an extremely capable group and don’t need advising anymore.”

The mission has moved from simply training the ANCOP on counterinsurgency operations to preparing Afghan instructors to train, Campbell said.

“Our role now is getting them to learn how to institutionally train themselves. They have the ability to fight and destroy the enemy, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to do sustainment training between deployments,” said Campbell, a native of Coral Springs, Fla. “They don’t need us to fight, or show them how to fight. They’re very aggressive—allowing us to assume a more over-the-shoulder approach since we’ve been here.”

Campbell continued to say they have been there to provide them support and help when needed, from logistics and medical treatment to teaching their future instructors.

Garmser District, Afghanistan - Sgt. Ryan Macleary, a team leader with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, explains hand-and-arm signals to the Afghan National Civil Order Police with the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade at the ANCOP station here, June 17, 2013. "As far as learning the hand-and-arm signals, they picked up those skills and adapted to them almost instantly," said Gunnery Sgt. Richard Fitzgerald, the senior enlisted advisor with Afghan National Civil Order Police Advisor Team 2. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson)

Sgt. Ryan Macleary, a team leader with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, explains hand-and-arm signals to the Afghan National Civil Order Police with the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade at the ANCOP station in Garmser District, Afghanistan, June 17, 2013. “(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson)

“We’re trying to implement the training cycle phase so they understand the importance of the training prior to deploying to the next area,” said Gunnery Sgt. Richard Fitzgerald, the senior enlisted advisor with ANCOP Advisor Team 2. “The more we can teach them, the better they’re able to operate on their own and can start teaching themselves.”

While the 2nd Kandak is currently in its training cycle, they continue to conduct patrols and operations throughout Garmser District.

“They are actually doing a lot of things on their own, and they really don’t need us,” said Fitzgerald, a native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich. “As far as learning the hand-and-arm signals and immediate action drills, they picked up those skills and adapted to them almost instantly.”

As Marines with ANCOP Advisor Team 2 wrap up their deployment in the coming weeks, they are confident that the members of the 2nd Kandak, 7th Brigade will continue to work efficiently.

“These guys are going to do great,” said Campbell. “The Kandak itself functions well without Americans or any (International Security Assistance Force) forces to assist them.”

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