Lighting the Way to Improved Security
In the district of Shahid-e Hasas, Uruzgan, the Afghan Local Police (ALP) man checkpoints on a 24-hour basis yet have no way to illuminate the sites once it gets dark thus making it more dangerous and insecure. Through partnering with the U.S. military liaison to the GIRoA district leadership, Spirit of America was able to provide spotlights and solar panel lights for these locations in order to assist the ALP in deterring insurgent activities that occur under the cover of darkness.
With these upgrades, the police now have a renewed sense of confidence when performing their duties in the evening especially as winter approaches and it becomes pitch black by 6pm. They can help prevent attackers from planting IEDs and assaulting checkpoints. Since the ALP have no night vision capabilities, the spotlights enable them to detect any suspicious movements within the vicinity of their area of operation. Further, the ALP can use them for vehicle searches for both at their sites and while on patrol. And with the solar panels, the men have a basic level of electricity to power a few lights and charge their search lights, radios, and phones. That way they will have readily available and working equipment to call in reports and request backup when needed.
These new additions have increased the level of Afghan self-sustainability by allowing them to guard their posts more effectively, charge their small devices on their own, and reduce the need for coalition forces illumination flares. According to the U.S. military rep, "The ALP have deterred IED emplacements, enhanced their ability and desire to maintain persistent security in their areas, and built rapport and established a positive opinion of GIRoA throughout the local villages." Additionally, these improvements will help protect other Afghan Security Forces who pass through the checkpoints as they are frequently targeted. Overall, these tools increase the police's capacity and establish their legitimacy within the community.
Afghanistan Field Rep