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)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, where his unit had been attacked by an improvised explosive device two days earlier. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lucas Peterson, a platoon leader with 2nd platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, had heard it all before.

“We didn’t see anything,” a villager in the town of Tupac told him as he talked with a group of villagers in the streets of the town Jan. 21. “The people come from outside our village.”

Peterson said it is frustrating. Two days before, an improvised explosive device had detonated in Tupac just a few feet in front of one of his platoon’s vehicles. It was a near miss and, luckily, none of his Soldiers were injured in the attack. The blast was in the middle of the village by a house but the people said they had not seen or heard anything.

So, the platoon kept patrolling. They had already walked miles and miles up and down mountains to get to Tupac, having conducted a key leader engagement in the town of Nengaresh earlier. They were just about to start the long march back to Forward Operating Base Kalagush, when it happened: someone came forward.

A person in the area approached one of the Afghan National Army Soldiers from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Corps, on patrol with Peterson’s men, and told the ANA soldiers they had seen a wire. That was all they needed. An hour or so later, after the soldiers had been walking for seven hours, Peterson slipped and skidded a few feet down a steep slope, in so doing, uncovering the wire, which Weapons Co. soldier Shafi Ulah quickly located.

The Afghan and American troops followed the wire down one mountainside and up another together before they found that it led straight to an old blast site along the side of the road which had since been filled with rocks. The site had been used to attack the unit that Co. C had replaced. The explosive ordnance disposal team was called out and located then destroyed the IED.

Because the person came forward with the littlest tip, the person potentially saved American and Afghan lives, Peterson said.

The IED obviously took a considerable amount of time to emplace, as the wire was buried up and down two complete steep valley slopes. Still, Peterson and his men have seen this before, yet gotten little information from the villagers, who are intimidated by the Taliban.

“They always say if they see something, they’ll call and never do. The story of my life,” Peterson, who hails from Ames, Iowa, said with a laugh.

U.S. Army Pfc. Brian Wisor, a 20-year-old infantryman from Ackley, Iowa, was one of the Co. C Soldiers on the patrol when the IED was located. He said when he started the patrol he didn’t really expect to find an IED. Prior to locating the IED, in fact, the big news of the day was that it was the 27th birthday of squad leader U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Behan, from Sabula, Iowa.

Peterson said the IED was a pressure-cooker packed with 25 pounds of explosives and was comparably small to some that have been found in the area. Still, the damage it could have done was not inflicted on his Soldiers.

“If it would have hit one of our trucks, it probably wouldn’t have been too bad,” Wisor said. “If it would have hit a person, though, or one of the ANA trucks it wouldn’t have been a good deal. It was nice that the people are starting to trust us enough to give us information and we can take care of it, instead of some little kid or (other) innocent person in general finding it.”

During the mission, Co. C’s Soldiers walked at least 10 kilometers, starting at Forward Operating Base Kalagush, over a mountain and a couple ridges to the town of Nengaresh, where they conducted a KLE. Peterson said his Soldiers had often driven past the town, but never stopped and talked with the people.

“We wanted to put our face out there and talk with the people,” Peterson said. “The people said it had been a long time since Americans had been through the area. We stop at their bazaar along the paved road, but had never gone up to the village itself. Having them see us makes everything a little more personal.”

“It’s nice to get out and interact with the people, and see a different view of the villages,” Wisor said.

From there, the Soldiers hiked onward, up and down valleys to the town of Tupac. They swept the bridge with a metal detector, as well as the fields near Route Philadelphia, the road going through the center of the village that the unit had been hit on two days earlier. They explored the valleys around the village but found nothing. Peterson estimated they had walked probably eight miles up and down mountains during the day. But they had nothing to show for it until the tip came in.

The patrol was a longer one for the platoon, but is nothing new. Wisor said it was his first mission back from leave, and was a quick re-acclimatization.

“It was a smoker,” he said with a laugh.

“I just want people to know my guys are out here working hard,” Peterson said.

They say hard work pays off, and this time it did. As the Soldiers from Co. C huffed back to FOB Kalagush, they heard the EOD team blow up the IED they had found in the distance. Though tired from the gruelling day, hearing the IED detonate and knowing it wouldn’t be able to hurt them or an innocent civilian brought a smile to their faces.
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, and Afghan National Army Soldiers from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Corps, negotiate their way down a steep ridge outside the village of Tupac Jan. 21. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Nick Andrews, an infantry squad leader from Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, from Marshalltown, Iowa, uses a metal detector to search for improvised explosive devices in the village of Tupac while youngsters from the village look on Jan. 21. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army Lt. Zurgay, a platoon leader with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Corps, holds a rolled-up command wire from an improvised explosive device the Afghan Soldiers found with U.S. Army Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, outside the village of Tupac Jan. 21. TF Ironman is a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Red Bulls Public Affairs)



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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.

All rounds were reported safe and on target. There were no reports of injuries or damages to civilians in the area.

ANSF, ISAF begin major operation in Laghman valley

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Security Forces, partnered with U.S. Task Forces Red Bulls and Phoenix and French Task Force La Fayette, began operations in Galuch Valley, Laghman Province, March 25.

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.  

While moving through the valley, unit leadership met with village elders to discuss the security situation and to allow them to give up insurgents still in the area.

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.

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.