SUROBI, Afghanistan -- The Marines of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, have found a new partner in the war on terror. The battalion has joined forces with the Surobi police in both security and civil affairs operations throughout the Surobi District.
“America’s Battalion” deployed to Afghanistan late last year, and has spent the past two months operating in the Tagab Valley. The area was once home to numerous Anti-Coalition Militia members.
The Afghan Ministry of the Interior sent General Muhammad Dauod-Nadim, commander of police, to assume command of the police in the Surobi District. The 250-member-strong police force is responsible for 129 villages throughout the valley.
“Three months ago nobody followed the police. Warlords moved freely through Surobi,” Dauod said. “Before, everyone walked the streets of Surobi with guns. Now only the police are armed.”
Since establishing a close working relationship, the battalion has asked for police support during various security and humanitarian assistance missions.
“I try to always have a police officer with my Marines during operations. It’s good to show an Afghan face right alongside us,” said Lt. Col. R. Petit, battalion commander.
“The Marines and police work together to make the Surobi District a safe place,” Dauod said.
As a gesture of good faith and to better the abilities of the policemen, the battalion coordinated for the donation of two Toyota Hilux vehicles for use by the police department in a ceremony May 8.
“We noticed transportation was a problem for them, so we tried to help,” Petit said. This helps extend the reach of the law here.
The Marines had “Surobi Police” painted on the vehicles in both English and Pashtu; the main language in the area.
“This is a very happy day for us,” said Talib, commander of the Surobi Proper police. “We had no vehicles that could make it up and down the hills here. Now we have two.”
Prior to receiving the vehicles, the department only had one marked police vehicle.
“On behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and the police, thank you to the Marines for the help and support of the police station,” Dauod added.