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Armed with a Camera and a Printer

Last month, I wrote about a trip I took to Daman, Kandahar to conduct assessments for potential projects with a Security Forces Advisory Team (SFAT) whose main mission is to mentor the Afghan Security Forces. They have been working with committed and well organized members from the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the domestic intelligence agency for the country, as well as the Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) in the district. Much of their work involves analyzing attack sites and disrupting insurgent activity. However, these forces have not been able to compile information and document cases properly because they lack the necessary equipment. With support from Spirit of America, the SFAT is currently working on obtaining cameras, a printer with a solar panel for power, and GPS devices for these forces to implement.

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Members of the SFAT picking up supplies from Spirit of America

This gear is vital to their success because they need it to do their jobs effectually. With cameras and GPS devices, the Afghans will be able to study pictures of locations where IED blasts occur and plot the grid coordinates of areas of interest on a map. The items will assist the men in marking points where roadside bombs are discovered before they even detonate and will help them identify places that are historically known for bomb emplacement. With a 3-in-1 printer, the NDS will be able to print out pictures of suspects as well as photos of crime scenes. They will be able to make copies of reports and night letters (threatening notes left at night by the enemy) to submit to their higher command without having to rely on the U.S. troops' capabilities or copying all of the paperwork by hand.

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According to a member of the SFAT, both AUP and NDS find IEDs, capture insurgent forces, and ultimately upset the enemy's momentum on a weekly basis. By having these tools, the forces can become more self-reliant and ultimately more proficient at improving security. Having a simple GPS, coupled with a camera, will give Afghan patrols the critical capacity to organize their records by applying a photo and a ten digit grid to each case thereby thwarting insurgents and preventing future attacks. The Afghan counterparts have proven to the SFAT that they are responsible, focused, and loyal to GIRoA. With this equipment provided by SoA, they will be well on their way to achieving operational independence and taking the lead on security matters in Daman.

Chrissy Burbach
Afghanistan Field Rep

No endorsement of Spirit of America by the US Department of Defense or its personnel is intended or implied.