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SoA Helps Afghan Local Police in Kandahar’s Panjwa’i District

To some, Panjwa'i is the Afghan equivalent of the Wild West. Located in a highly contested area of southern Kandahar, the region has been plagued by insurgents, drug traffickers, and smugglers who take advantage of the district's strategic location between Kandahar City and the Afghan-Pakistan border. Instability is a safe haven to men like these, and their every effort has sought to prevent the Afghan national government and its allies from establishing security and fair governance in this land under siege. Since major operations began in 2009, ISAF and ANSF troops have suffered heavy casualties in Panjwa'i, in no small part due to the persistent use of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, by insurgents.

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The early months of 2013 witnessed a dramatic turnaround in Panjwa'i, as residents began to rise up against the oppression of Taliban and insurgent groups. Known as the Peshingan Uprising, a local man named Abdul Wadood successfully mobilized his neighbors and routed several Taliban positions from the area. Under the careful supervision and guidance of US Special Forces and their Afghan counterparts, Wadood and his compatriots have since enlisted in the Afghan Local Police and continue to defend their villages, inspiring others to do the same. Volunteers are now enlisting with the Afghan Local Police in a show of unprecedented support for the national government, spreading hope for the future of Panjwa'i.

But the task of maintaining watch over such an historically volatile region can be difficult for the new Afghan Local Policemen, who often man checkpoints without proper equipment, cover from the ailments, or even the necessary spotlights to prevent the emplacement of IEDs along strategic routes at night. At the behest of the US Special Forces team in the area, Spirit of America has been able to address these shortfalls, delivering handheld spotlights, personal headlamps, megaphones, tarps, backpacks, and clothing to the growing group of brave volunteers in Panjwa'i. This small contribution comes at a critical time in Panjwa'i's development, and will help prevent ISAF, ANSF, and civilian casualties in a place that has seen more than enough.

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Thank you to all who helped make this possible. Your support continues to make the difference in small communities across the country.

Mike Harte
Afghanistan Field Rep