FRIDAY FOTO (November 9, 2012)

November 9, 2012 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

At Ease

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

Coalition force members watch as Afghan Local Policemen and villagers crowd around other coalition forces in Khost village, Farah province, Afghanistan.

Afghan National Security Forces have been gradually taking the lead in security operations, with coalition forces acting as as mentors.

The troops in this photo and others in this Defense Department photo slide show are identified as Special Operations Forces (SOF) although whether they are Navy SEALs, Green Berets or some other branch of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSCOM) is not specified. One wears a combat [air] controller patch. In another photo, an operator’s patch has been blacked out.

What is clear is that the beards, the SOF helmets with attached headsets and the absence of identifying insignia — except for numerous American flag decals — marks them as Special Operations Forces.

These troops — with their beards, unconventional look and sense of humor — are trying to connect with local villagers. And that is a key element of counter terrorism and smart power diplomacy: gaining the trust of the local population.

One of the programs in Afghanistan where Special Operations Forces have taken the lead is the recruitment and training of Afghan Local Police. As the size of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan shrinks between now and 2014, special operators’ numbers are expected to remain stable as they handle more unconventional warfare tasks like training security forces.


Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, FRIDAY FOTO, National Security and Defense, Photos, Special Operations. Tags: , , , , .

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