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)
During his visit to the Czech PRT on Forward Operating Base Shank, Dr. Alexandr Vondra, the Czech Republic MOD, sat down with U.S. Army Col. Bruce Antonia, commander of TF Patriot and 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La., and U.S. Army Col. James Johnson, commander of TF Bayonet and 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
The leaders discussed several subjects including Afghan National Security Forces; the people’s perceptions of International Security Assistance Forces in Logar and Wardak provinces; and the future roles of U.S. and Czech forces in Afghanistan.
After the office call, Antonia, who is from Manchester, Conn., and is the incoming task force commander, and Johnson, as the outgoing task force commander, answered questions posed from Czech media representatives who were travelling with Vondra’s entourage.
“The most important thing we can do with the Afghan Police is make them more professional,” Johnson told the Czech press representatives. “That is exactly what the training of the Czech PRT provides. It provides the foundation for a professional police force that is here to serve the population.”
With the changing of the guard from TF Bayonet to TF Patriot this month, people might wonder what direction the new leadership will take. Antonia stated the makeup of his brigade is a lot like Johnson’s, so there will be a continuity of effort regarding the number of Soldiers in the provinces.
“As I understand it, our way ahead is to transition to the Afghan National Security Forces,” said Antonia. “In order to do that, we can’t introduce more American forces. We will begin transitioning to the Afghan Security Forces next summer. As far as I know, there is no plan to increase the American capacity on FOB Shank.”
Gaining and maintaining trust will be a key to ANSF success in Logar and Wardak provinces during TF Patriot’s time here. One task facing ISAF is to continue training ANSF to a standard high enough that local villagers will see positive results. Antonia said that kind of success hinges on two things.
“I think that is based on the people, the local people, and the trust that they have in the Afghan National Security Forces – number one,” said Antonia. “Number two is the amount of insurgent activities (remaining) in the area.”
Johnson said training has gone very well and the Afghan National Police has made significant strides in their progress. With an eventual handoff of operational control to the ANSF and potential U.S. troop withdrawals, TF Patriot involvement with ANSF training is something to watch for in the upcoming year.
Only having been here a few days, Antonia addressed the developing situation and his task force’s changing supportive roles.
“With only a week’s worth of experiences (here, I would say) we would make the assessment of Afghan security forces and where they are; and then, first, we would begin to transition them into taking the lead on security operations,” explained Antonia. “Once they have taken the lead and gotten comfortable with that, (we would be) pulling our forces back into an over-watch role.”
As ISAF partners with ANSF, Antonia said TF Patriot forces currently perform the same actions as ANSF during joint security operations. After TF Patriot transitions to over-watch operations as ANSF operate by themselves, Antonia said he will then make a decision – after an assessment – whether or not ANSF in Logar and Wardak provinces will be ready to perform operations completely on their own.
“There are a lot of different factors that ... would go into that assessment; but in my opinion, number one is the trust that the Afghan people have in their security forces,” said Antonia. “That, I think, is their primary link to their government ... that they feel comfortable in the security.”
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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.
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|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.