50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)

10th CAB Soldiers bring communications to Bagram’s east side

U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls search Parwai during Operation Brass Monkey

An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)

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Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. David W. Wilson, of Salisbury, N.C., a grenadier with 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, stacks sandbags in an effort to improve a fighting position at Combat Outpost Thomas above the Marawarah District here July 7. The Soldiers continuously work to improve their fighting positions while ever mindful of the extreme weather conditions that surpass 100 degrees daily. Coalition forces pushed insurgents out of the district only days earlier and are setting up permanent outposts to prevent insurgents from returning to the area. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The back of the Chinook opened and the small team of scouts, mortarmen and infantrymen exited over knee-high piles of Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water into the darkness of Helicopter Landing Zone Hawk July 7.

 

Days earlier, some of these same Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, helped expel insurgents from the valley below during Operation Strong Eagle. Now they were back to ensure insurgents did not return by helping the Afghan National Army build a permanent outpost high above the Marawarah District.

“This particular ground is important because it allows us to provide over-watch and security,” said Maj. Eric D. Anderson, the executive officer of 2nd Bn., 327th Inf. Reg., stationed out of Fort Campbell, Ky. “We are also denying the enemy the ability to use that terrain. Time and time again throughout history, the enemy has rushed to the high ground [during military operations].”

There are no hardened buildings; no dining facilities; no morale, welfare and recreation centers; and no bathrooms on this new OP. Despite the lack of amenities, the Soldiers enthusiastically make do and carry on with their mission.

ANA and U.S. Soldiers begin working early before the temperature surpasses the 100-degree mark. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Oretheous O. Reed, of Blakely, Calif., a squad leader with 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Bn., 327th Inf. Reg., Task Force No Slack, fills sandbags alongside his squad and ANA soldiers.

“We are helping the ANA secure their area,” said Reed. “Helping them to build better fighting positions. They get excited when we work with them.”

The Soldiers build their fighting positions with sandbags, large rocks and indigenous vegetation. They maintain situational awareness of both the elements and possible enemy movement in the area.

“Safety is number one,” Reed said. “We pick safe times to work, like when it’s overcast. When the sun comes back out, we are back down again. We never stop drinking water.”

He also takes time to mentor the ANA soldiers when needed.

The ANA, in turn, show their appreciation by sharing a traditional Afghan lunch of cooked rice, potatoes and beans with the American Soldiers.

During the long hot days, the Soldiers do their best to keep morale up with occasional debates about the best actors, movies and singers.

Evenings present new challenges. Soldiers create guard duty rotations and double-check their night time optical devices before being completely enveloped in darkness. The winds pick up considerably and temperatures drop substantially.

There are no mattresses. Soldiers do their best to find a comfortable spot in the dirt, ignoring the tiny rocks that poke at them through the night.

One Soldier showed ingenuity by constructing a small blanket from material found during the day and 550-cord. Some use empty MRE boxes, uniform tops and poncho liners to provide additional protection from the wind.

Although, the valley below is almost completely desolate, the Soldiers understand the importance of being alert during their shifts.

“You do not want to let your buddy down,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Frank K. Copass, of Thomkinsville, Ky., a radio telephone operator with the scout platoon.

“You don’t want someone to sneak up on you because you weren’t scanning your sector,” said Copass.

When daylight breaks, the Soldiers start the process all over. For four days they continue improving fighting positions, pulling guard duty, keeping cool during the scorching day and keeping warm at night.

“Local nationals have ownership of security, static posts, patrolling and the town itself,” said Anderson. Eventually this OP will be turned over completely to Afghan National Security Forces.

Until then, the Soldiers continue their rotations high above the District of Marawarah.

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Johnathan R. Villarreal, of San Benito, Texas, an automatic rifleman with 1st squad, 2nd Platoon, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, scans the area below from the security of a fighting position that he and his squad built at Combat Outpost Thomas above the Marawarah District here July 7. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers stack sandbags to improve their fighting positions at Combat Outpost Thomas above the Marawarah District here July 7. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Orentheous. O. Reed of Blakely, Calif., a squad leader with 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, fills sandbags with his Soldiers in an effort to improve their fighting position at Combat Outpost Thomas above the Marawarah District here July 7. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan National Army soldier inspects and cleans his weapon from the safety of his fighting position above the Marawarah District here July 7. Coalition forces pushed insurgents out of the district only days earlier and are setting up permanent outposts to prevent insurgents from returning to the area. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 17:34
 

    

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Coalition forces engage insurgents in Kapisa

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.

Coalition forces and aircraft responded to an insurgent attack. Four insurgents were killed by air strike and three were killed by direct fire from coalition forces.

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Soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, Afghan National Police’s 202nd Shamshod and the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, TF Red Bulls, supported by the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Phoenix, conducted an air assault into the valley to remove enemy forces. Battle Group Richelieu, TF La Fayette, provided artillery support from Kapisa Province.

While conducting operations, the forces found multiple weapons caches including assorted rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, Russian rockets, materials to make homemade explosives, various other ordnances and communication equipment.  

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The operation will assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing the valley as a new district giving the Afghan people in the area freedom from the insurgency.   

President Hamid Karzai approved the creation of the additional district and hopes the new district will help improve the security of the area and support the reconstruction effort.

Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province governor, held a press conference March 7 announcing the establishment of a new district located in the valley.

 
ANSF, TF Bastogne continue operations in Kunar

 

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.

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Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Leaders from across eastern Afghanistan attended a security conference March 9 at Forward Operating Base Thunder, the home of the Afghan Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps.

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