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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – As containers swung overhead and a chain of coalition soldiers unloaded medical supplies, Afghan soldiers positioned at the tan, metal gate of a clinic maintained control of the large, jovial crowd massed in Bábüs Jan. 21.
Afghan National Security Forces and supporting Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, enhanced the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan presence in Pul-e Alam district during a four-day operation Jan. 18-21.
“The operation has been totally led by the ANSF,” said Afghan National Army Col. Sanam Ghul, commander of the 4th Kandak, 4th Brigade, 203rd Corps. “The Afghan National Police have been instrumental in this operation.”
Ghul said this area has been historically known for the prevalence of improvised explosive devices. During the operation, the ANSF detained five people and found multiple caches, most due to local support. One cache find alone yielded seven rocket-propelled grenades, 12 RPG propellants and nearly 150 rounds of ammunition among other items, according to a TF Thunder report.
“This has been made possible by the support of the local population,” said Ghul. “We have had communications with the locals and were led by the locals to some of these caches.”
Coalition forces secured an outer cordon while Afghan forces moved through the village, which also served another purpose.
“We wanted to show the people here in Bábüs that they have a capable security force in the ANP (and) ANA,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. William Chlebowski, TF Thunder’s commander from Mount Pleasant, Pa. “(ANSF) were clearly in the lead. Our forces were on the outside during the operation, and the ANA and ANP led the way.”
In Afghanistan, when frigid air sets in, insurgent activity usually cools as well. This operation sought to take advantage of this trend.
“Bábüs is a troublesome area for us; so in the winter, we really want to try to get to the people and the elders together and connect them to their government,” said Chlebowski. “It’s hard to do when there is fighting going on. So, when it’s a little more peaceful, we can get some of these caches off the battlefield and we are then able to set ourselves up for success as we move into spring and summer when we will be able to execute some of the projects we’re currently planning.”
Another benefit of limited winter contact is the ability to poll the populace for what resources they need. During the ANA-led mission, leaders asked the people about their needs during a shura.
“In the shura, we discussed future development for this area and what we can bring to help the people here, kind of like this (Village Medical Outreach Program) we did in coordination with the Jordanians and the Czechs,” said Chlebowski.
Ghul said, in addition to removing weapons and troublesome individuals from the battlefield, another key development occurred during the operation.
“We had very good coordination with coalition forces, and now Afghan National Security Forces have gained the capability to conduct missions by themselves independently,” said Ghul.
With local Afghans waiting eagerly at the gate, the Afghan soldiers began letting villagers into the clinic area so coalition doctors could assess and treat them and offer them humanitarian aid. Adults and children alike left the clinic smiling with backpacks filled with blankets and medication.
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