Building Bak one shura at a time

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Mark Fetterman, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team engineer from Plymouth, Mass., stands on a hilly outcropping in Bak district during a foot (click for more)

ANA enforces weapon registration law

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers from 1st Coy, 3rd Kandak play with village children during a patrol through Sar Mast Kheyl, Zormat District Jan. 16. (click for more)

Afghan forces, ISAF help improve security in Bak

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An MRAP remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. ISAF, ANP and ANA members work together daily (click for more)

Task Force Leader Soldiers patrol Zambar

KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Oszczakiewicz, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, from Trenton, N.J., scans for insurgents as 2nd Plt. receives (click for more)

US, Polish forces build relationships in Ghazni

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Battle Group A and Texas Army National Guard Ghazni ADT-IV conduct a village assessment of Pir Shabaz, a small village near Ghazni City, (click for more)

New recruits join Afghan army

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls find IED

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, (click for more)

ANSF, TF Thunder aim to increase GIRoA influence in Pul-e Alam

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Tyrik L. Holmes, assigned to 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, (click for more)

Sayed Karam market walk, step in right direction

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Davis, from Moore, Okla., the platoon sergeant of the 2-45th ADT’s security force, leads the rear security element (click for more)

Iowa Soldiers discuss ‘average’ days in Afghanistan

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Vanotegham, an infantry radio telephone operator from Victor, Iowa, with TF Ironman, smiles as he stands beside a Holstein cow (click for more)

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KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A mine resistant ambush-protected vehicle remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. International Security Assistance Forces, Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army members work together daily to help address the district population’s concerns. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Ken Scholz, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)KHOWST Province, Afghanistan– Joint efforts to loosen the insurgents’ hold on Bak began when ten elders from Bak visited the Saberi District combat outpost to ask coalition forces about the return of their sons, who had been detained for crimes in the area.



“They said the capture of (insurgent) leadership had upset the balance of power in the area and that they wanted to reclaim their land,” said U.S. Army Capt. Steve Baunach, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs team leader from West Lafayette, Ind. “Our presence here is predicated on an invitation from the people of Bak and their hope for a bright future.”

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, along with help from International Security Assistance Forces, is making a concerted effort to clear and stabilize key districts like Bak.

“Bak has always been an (insurgent) stronghold,” said Baunach, “It is key enemy terrain and one of the main infill routes for them.”

Now this territory is finally tipping toward Afghan government control, said Baunach. The recently fortified district center and combat outpost are now routine spots where locals can discuss future projects, current problems or hold shuras with local government officials.

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., established the COP in the 11th month of their year-long deployment.

The recent construction of COP Bak could not be completed without close coordination between Task Force Leader’s HHC and the PRT civil affairs presence in the area.

“Steve stopped the fighting; my first sergeant built the COP,” said U.S. Army Capt. Manuel Gonzalez, commander of HHC 1-187 Inf. Regt., from Olympia, Wash., referring to the local relationships Baunach and U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Beck, Khowst PRT civil affairs specialist from Greenville, Mich., cultivated in their first days in the area.

“Sometimes lethal and non-lethal targeting come to odds with each other, but in this case, largely due to the maneuver unit here, they complimented each other,” said Beck describing his experience working with the HHC in Bak.

While the COP is largely complete and improvements on the district center continue, the real building in the region has only just begun.

“We go out a lot. The situation here has improved because of coordination with coalition forces,” said Afghan National Army Capt. Fazl Mannulah.

The 1-187 Inf. Regt. Soldiers, who have travelled from Narizah to Urgun to Sarubi to Panjway and now to Bak District during their year-long deployment, are laying the foundations for relationships with the PRT civil affairs element and the Bak locals for the future.

“Instead of getting ready to go home in their last month, they came here and established a COP so we could begin talks with the locals which is critical,” said Baunach.

As one village elder put it among his colleagues in a recent shura, “Bak is a small tribe. But we’re united.”KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army personnel from Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Task Force Leader’s 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky., conduct a dismounted combat patrol through Bak District Jan 15. In addition to providing security to the area, a PRT engineer and civil affairs personnel conducted site assessments for future projects during the patrol. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Ken Scholz, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)

 

Last Updated on Friday, 21 January 2011 00:11
 

    

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