In late July 2011, I assumed my position with the small NTM-A ANCOP advisory team--which consisted of a few American officers and noncommissioned officers; a contingent of Canadian naval officers; and a French gendarme colonel, who was Major General Zamarai's personal advisor.
In spite of his numerous injuries, Major General Zamarai remained the true backbone and inspirational leader of the ANCOP.
I could have easily worn my armored gear for the entire trip, but what kind of message would that have sent to the ANCOP personnel?
A few months into my deployment, I learned that the deputy commanding general of ANCOP (who had lost his wife to an automobile accident months earlier) was planning to get remarried in Kabul.
In just two months, the 30 young soldiers have formed close bonds with the ANCOP platoon based next door to their battle station.
Stewart said the Royal Welsh soldiers stationed at Pan Kalay before his unit had told them a truce had been organised between the insurgents and the previous platoon of ANCOP, who were ending a three-month rotation in the area.
But he said: "On the first day the new platoon of ANCOP came in, we were attacked.
Platoon Sergeant Nigel Heron, from Durham, regularly holds talks with ANCOP to discuss joint operations or to share intelligence on the movements of their platoons.
Guardsman Aaron Boyd, 20, from Beith, Ayrshire, says the ANCOP could keep the insurgency at bay if left to their own devices come 2015.
Aaron told how, two weeks ago, an ANCOP sentry spotted an IED strapped to a donkey that was being led to the gates of the checkpoint, with an insurgent ready to push a button to detonate a charge.