Sayed Abad is one of 398 districts in 34 provinces of Afghanistan and is strategically located between Ghazni City and Kabul, in the Province of Wardak. The district center includes a small, “downtown” area, with about 20 government and commerical buildings, at the base of a valley.
1LT Smith decided that he needed more “standoff” – more space between the walls of his outpost and the nearest place from which the enemy could fire a weapon or detonate a VBIED. Creating this “standoff” space would require 1LT Smith and his soldiers to restrict civilian access to pieces of farmland, emplace various anti-vehicle obstacles, and remove some vegetation and small structures that the enemy could use for cover or concealment during an attack. To accomplish these tasks, 1LT Smith needed to negotiate with the landowner(s) in close proximity to the outpost in order to receive permission to
MEET THE PARTIES
In 2007, as a scout platoon in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan, 1LT Smith had the unique mission of partnering with Afghan National Police forces, Afghan National Army troops, and local leaders to protect and improve the welfare of the community near the city of Sayed Abad. Prior to his assignment to the area, a Polish Army platoon had been responsible for security operations near the city.
1LT Smith had been in Afghanistan for approximately four months when he was given the mission to replace a Polish platoon that had been occupying a small military outpost on the outskirts of Sayed Abad. Upon receiving his mission, 1LT Smith and his platoon travelled several hours to their new “home” and the Lieutenant immediately began assessing their new situation.
implement the security measures his analysis had identified. During his analysis and planning, 1LT Smith engaged in conversation with the local Afghan National Police (ANP) Commander, the Afghan National Army Commander responsible for the area, and the local Village Elder. Each of these men stated that he was delighted to have a U.S. Army platoon close to Sayed Abad because of the additional security the U.S. presence would provide to the area. During these meetings with local leaders, 1LT Smith learned that a man named Sadiq owned the field adjacent (south) of the US compound. 1LT Smith’s initial plan was to find Sadiq and offer him money for the use of the land, but 1LT Smith would soon find out that the situation was more complex than he originally thought. He didn’t know it at the time, but a disciplined approach to negotiation would make his mission easier and increase the likelihood of success.
1LT Smith worried about how he would defend the site with just 32 paratroopers, armed with only rifles, machine guns, and other man-portable weapons.
1LT Smith’s initial assessment left him most concerned about the threat of an attack on his small outpost. There had been many improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on Coalition and Afghan security forces near the outpost and a large road ran very close by, making it possible for the enemy to maneuver an explosives-laden vehicle (vehicle-borne IED, VBIED) to the outpost’s perimeter wall.
RETURN TO TOP
The district center included a small, “downtown” area, with about 20 government and commercial buildings, at the base of a valley. Clustered around the district center was a residential area of about 60 homes and farming-related structures. All of the above was surrounded by farmland, with plots of land adjoining the backs of the residences that surrounded the district center. 1LT Smith’s platoon outpost was on the
northwest corner of the village, about 2.5 kilometers from the district center, on the north side of the primary road leading into the valley. It was roughly the size of a U.S. football field and contained two stick-built, open-bay buildings and one large maintenance bay. The perimeter was surrounded by a mud wall, approximately eight feet tall and two feet thick. Adjoining the eastern wall was the local Afghan National Police (ANP) unit, of about 27 police. In the district center were the barracks and headquarters of an Afghan National Army company (about 100 soldiers).
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1LT Smith worried about how he would defend the site with just 32 paratroopers, armed with only rifles, machine guns, and other man-portable weapons. He needed to be able to secure his outpost, afford his Paratroopers rest and refit, and simultaneously patrol and assist the community.
FIRST LIEUTENANT (1LT)
The following scenario will be used through the chapter to help illustrate the steps to taking a disciplined approach to principled negotiation. The scenario features components of a real-life experience faced by First Lieutenant (1LT) Smith, a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division serving in Afghanistan circa 2007.
A platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at a small outpost in Afghanistan. 1LT Smith was tasked to work collaboratively in protecting and improving the welfare of the local community known as Sayad Abad.
The owner of the field adjacent to (south) the outpost 1LT Smith is responsible for overseeing. Sadiq possesses a few farm animals, but earns most of his living working as a blacksmith in the town center.