Special Operations News

PSYOP: Winning hearts, minds in Afghanistan

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan – The 324th Tactical Psychological Operations Company from Aurora, Colo., dropped leaflets July 4, from a UH-60 Blackhawk in order to inform the local Afghan people of the Kar-Ya-Amir area and request their help. The information contained on these particular leaflets was a request for help locating an individual wanted for questioning in an attack against Coalition forces.

“During World War II, we dropped leaflets as a warning sign to local people, now we use them for all kinds of reasons,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ian R. McKnight, a 324th TPC senior non-commissioned officer.

McKnight said they used these leaflets not only to warn the Afghan people of danger approaching, but to educate and inform them of what their government is doing for them. They have been used to spread positive information as well as attempting to deter people from helping anti-Afghan forces.

“Our job is to disseminate information to the Afghan people whether it’s by going out to them personally, by radio, television or in the newspaper,” said Capt. Philip A. Borrelli, 324th TPC, detachment commander.

“We go in and see if they need schools or whatever it is they need, we figure out what they have already received because of their government, and talk with them about how they are doing,” he said.

Borrelli also stated the people need to know why it benefits them to support their government. Some of these people are being terrorized and threatened if they support Coalition forces or their government; they are trying to combat that.

“Our overall goal is to show them how the insurgents are hurting them and what their government is doing and can do to help,” Borrelli said.

With Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, many villages are difficult to reach and ensuring the people are well informed can be a hard task, said McKnight. For their mission to be considered a success, they just need a call in response to their message, one call will do.

“It doesn’t matter if we receive false information or calls with threats, either way it shows a good measure of effectiveness,” Borrelli said. His mission is to inform the public of any response that shows their message was received.

Whether they drive into a village, send out a media message or drop leaflets from the sky, their job is to get the word out and inform the Afghan people about their government and the changes taking place around them.

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