The exit of a prominent Afghan National Army commander has a Marine officer from Tacoma reflecting on the leaders who will take the reins in Helmand Province as U.S. forces leave the country in greater and greater numbers.
Marine Capt. Nicolas Rapkoch was impressed by Afghan army Lt. Col. Shirali Noori as soon as they started going out on missions together, according to this piece from Helmand by Marine writer Sgt. Bryan Peterson.
Rapkoch found that Noori had a talent for uniting Afghan soldiers from different ethnic groups and tribes under one mission. He was also cool under fire.
“Despite the shooting going on around him, he was able to remain calm even when he knew the people he was talking with might have been protecting the enemy,” Rapkock told Peterson.
“It’s evident when he speaks, people are listening to him and want to follow him,” the officer said.. “He knows his troops will go anywhere he directs them to go and the enemy also knows that. And he wants the people [in Now Zad] to know of his good intentions.”
Shirali is on his way to a new assignment in eastern Afghanistan. Check out Peterson’s story for more on how Rapkoch and Shirali worked together over the past few months in southern Afghanistan.