LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Aleef Jan, the white-bearded Dag Mene village elder in the Shalay Valley, hardly ever sees International Security Assistance Forces. He lives a secluded life in the valley where he ignores most of the fighting around him. He said he is a farmer with no plowed fields and grows wheat, but doesn’t have any seeds. To earn a living, his relatives, who live with him in the village, travel down the road to labor as unskilled workers for income.
“We are poor people here, and we are helpless, so we need help from the Afghan National Army and U.S. forces,” said Aleef Jan between the mountains of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province.
While helping to secure the valley, a patrol of ANA and Task Force No Slack Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, found an improvised explosive device on the outskirts of his village Nov. 4.
“It’s a bad thing when the enemy plants IEDs, but good when ANA find them,” said Aleef Jan.
The Soldiers on the joint patrol were weary of the road before going out and took precautions to search for IEDs.
Merdad, an ANA soldier, spotted an area that looked suspicious and immediately thought “IED.”
Merdad quickly signalled to the joint patrol about his find and established security around the area before calling up an explosive ordnance disposal unit.
U.S. Army Sgt. James T. Schmidt, an infantry squad leader from Decatur, Ill., assigned to Co. C, 2nd Bn., 327th Inf. Regt, noted the importance of finding the IED and how it saved many lives that day.
Schmidt and his Soldiers said the ANA soldiers they work with on a daily basis are some of the best they’ve seen.
“A lot of times when people think about ANA, they think we’re trying to lead them,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Jacob Sass, an infantry platoon leader assigned to Co. C, 2nd Bn., 327th Inf. Regt. “But I think instances like today really show they’re coming along and can really start fending for themselves in the future.”
As the joint patrol continued into the rock-strewn village of Dag Mene, the ANA searched the ramshackle houses for weapons. They soon found extra weapons the villagers were hiding.
“When we actually get back into the valleys like this and start talking to people, they start realizing we can provide security for them,” continued Sass, a native of Chatfield, Minn. “Today, for example, the village elder had a lot of weapons because he thought he needed to provide security for his own village.”
The ANA soldiers explained they were there to provide security and extra weapons were illegal. They gave the Aleef Jan phone numbers to contact their base in case anything happened.
“We are happy when they come by, and they work well together,” said Aleef Jan, despite having his weapons taken from him.
Soldiers from both sides agreed the mission was successful and another building block to helping secure the valley.
As the Soldiers loaded up their trucks to return to Combat Outpost Penich, EOD set off a huge explosion that echoed in the valley and plumed smoke over the horizon. The joint patrol was over, one less IED was on the road and the Shalay Valley took one more step toward peace.
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|Afghan forces, TF Bastogne continue operations in Sherzad District|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Bastogne, continued operations in the Sherzad District Jan. 8 clearing the village of Toto of insurgent fighters to reinforce a foundation of security in the area.
|TF Iron eliminates insurgent IED team|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers form Task Force Iron Rakkasan and members of the Afghan Uniformed police, using the Precision Threat Detection System blimp at Forward Operating Base Andar, identified a group of insurgents with weapons and explosives Jan. 3.
|TF Iron Rakkasan uses PTDS to prevent highway robbery|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Recently, Soldiers from Task Force Iron Rakkasan watched a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police conduct an illegal checkpoint on the route between Ghazni and Sharana. Using the camera system on the Persistent Threat Detection System, Soldiers observed a man standing in the road collecting money from vehicles. The practice is common by insurgents who fund their attacks by taking money from locals.
|Joint operation helps clear Sherzad of insurgent activity|
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from Task Force Bastogne began operations in the Sherzad District Dec. 23.