LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is developing Operational Coordination Centers throughout the country as it continues to develop its own system of layered security forces. Similar to U.S. emergency response and coordination centers, these facilities are designed to synchronize the efforts of all Afghan National Security Forces. These agencies of the security forces all have different jurisdictions, tactics and roles, but all come together with one mission: bring security to the population of Afghanistan.
Known commonly as OCCs, there are now several regional centers in Afghanistan, manned by members of the Afghan National Army, Afghan Local Police, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police and the National Directorate of Security. Though each of these forces works in different ways and have different roles, the regional center coordinates the activities allowing the groups to work in concert.
The stated mission of the OCC is to “plan, integrate, synchronize, and coordinate the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces in order to facilitate a common operational picture...”
Established is 2008 by an Afghanistan Presidential Decree, the Afghan National Security Coordination System is made up of the regional and provincial OCCs throughout the country. Its management is dictated by the Afghan Joint Directives for OCCs as well as standard operating procedure documents that apply to all the OCCs.
OCC-R Central is co-located with the Afghan army’s 201st Corps headquarters at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in eastern Afghanistan. This OCC-R tracks and coordinates actives for seven provinces north and east of Kabul: Parwan, Panjshir, Nuristan, Kapisa, Laghman, Kunar, and Nangarhar. The area spans from Kabul to the border with Pakistan.
It is responsible for an area that includes Highway 7, the route from the Torkham Gate border crossing with Pakistan to Kabul; the Tora Bora Mountains; the city of Jalalabad; and the volatile border with Pakistan.
Afghan army Maj. Gen. Abdul Nasir Ziyai is the director of this OCC-R, and he knows and fully understands the importance of the OCC-R. He has been the director of this OCC since its inception in 2008. Without the coordination that his center brings, there will be no way to defeat the enemies of Afghanistan in these provinces of more than 3 million people spread across 37,163 square kilometers or 14,349 square miles.
Ziyai also knows that he cannot do it alone and works closely with Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Wazeri, the commander of the 201st Corps.
Critical to the mission of the OCC-R is the provincial OCCs.
Each of the seven provinces in the region has an OCC that brings to bear all of the security forces within the province.
Trust in system
Afghanistan is a province-centered society so most of the direct coordination for operations and missions happens in the OCC-P. Regular security meetings happen at the provincial level to identify security concerns and discuss specific threats. The planners in the OCC-P then launch into a planning cycle that works to neutralize the threat.
“We are able to help the people because the people believe in the OCC system,” Ziyai said.
This belief and trust in the system comes from the results the OCC brings to the people.
Ziyai carries out his mission by pushing strategic-level goals down to the OCC-P and allowing the OCC-P to push ideas on how to achieve those goals up to the OCC-R. This exchange is what allows coordinated security efforts and humanitarian assistance to reach the Afghan people.
A recent example of this coordination in action occurred in Panjshir province.
Seven enemies of Afghanistan attacked the governor’s office complex May 27.
The Afghan Uniformed Police repelled the attack and coordinated through their OCC-P to have the fire department from neighboring Parwan province respond to the resulting fire.
In the end, the fire was extinguished, one policeman was killed, three were wounded and the seven attackers lay dead. There were no coalition forces involved in the operation.
The OCC-R is already coordinating security efforts for the coming presidential election.
The security requirements for the future election and the current voter registration process are massive and essential to ensure that the elections are fair. Ziyai fully knows what is at stake as he works to coordinate the security effort across the force.
“It (this election) shows the people of Afghanistan that they can chose for themselves,” Ziyai said.
Security will be the single most important element in voter turnout; a fact that Ziyai knows and understands well.
“People won’t vote if there is no security. That is not only in Afghanistan. It is true in all countries,” he said.
Ziyai works tirelessly to bring the security forces and the government to the people. He understands that security is not just the responsibility of the security forces, but that government officials also play a role in bringing peace and stability to this area.