How one man makes a difference in Afghanistan

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Ghouse Loynab, human terrain analyst with Human Terrain Team, TF Red Bulls, takes notes as he talks to a villager about governance and development issues Feb. (click for more)

Guardians of Peace produces results in Paktya

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Koerperich of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Company C., 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, patrols with ANA soldiers (click for more)

Working together to put Afghan heroes back together again

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Gheiratullah, an Afghan medical soldier, practices self aid and buddy care at the Paktya Regional Medical Center Feb. 13. (click for more)

Bidder’s conference places Afghans in control

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Crystal Sims (right), from Duncan, Okla., a project manager for the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team, assists an Afghan with registering at the bidder’s (click for more)

Panjshir women strengthen communication skills

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ashlee Lolkus, TF Red Bulls, shows Rohubza Dousti, a trainer and supervisor at the United Nations Habitat and a Panjshir youth group (click for more)

Ghazni PRT assesses village, builds relationships

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Ghazni PRT members walk among the locals engaging in conversation during a village assessment in Touheed Abad in Ghazni Province Feb. 6. (click for more)

Iowa ADT inks deal for orchard training farm

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Haji Hazrat Ali Gull, a fruit producer, explains improvements he already made to a proposed orchard training farm site he owns to U.S. Army Master Sgt. (click for more)

Co. A makes successful return to Shebatkyl

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A team of Kiowa helicopters provide overhead security for U.S. Army Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, and Afghan National Army Soldiers from (click for more)

Delegation conducts market outreach mission in Zormat

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mohammad Masood, Paktya Agricultural Department advisor, and U.S. Army Col. Robert Roshell, 2-45 Agribusiness Development Team commander from Lawton, Okla., examine spices during a mission to (click for more)

Kunar PRT medics help healing at Asadabad Hospital

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lynn Redman of San Antonio, Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team nurse practitioner, examines a female Afghan patient with Afghan Dr. Ismat Shinwary, Asadabad (click for more)

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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Koerperich of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Company C., 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, patrols with Afghan National Army soldiers to investigate possible insurgent cache locations in Zormat District Feb. 5. The ANA and 2nd Plt. acted on a tip provided to the ANA by the Guardians of Peace program, which is designed to allow villagers to give information anonymously to Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith, Company C, Task Force Lethal)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A platoon from the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak, along with 2nd Platoon of Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Lethal of the Iowa Army National Guard, formed a partnership that is already producing meaningful results.



Acting on information gathered from the Guardians of Peace program in Zormat District Feb. 5, the units uncovered two sandbags containing multiple complete improvised explosive devices, one incomplete IED, a large improvised claymore-type mine, a mortar round and two anti-tank mines.

This is one of three caches found in the last week by the 3rd Coy and Co. C.

“The recent cache finds ... were driven by intelligence gathered by the ANA,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith of Altoona, Iowa, platoon sergeant for 2nd Plt., Co. C. “The Guardians of Peace tip was a result of the ANA handing out information cards with phone numbers.”

Guardians of Peace is a program used by Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces to receive information about insurgent activity. Local villagers get information from flyers and cards providing instructions on how to contact ANSF and coalition forces if insurgent activity is observed.

When an individual participates, the information is delivered without personally identifying information that may put that person at risk of repercussions by insurgent forces.

A tip was received by the ANA through this program that insurgents were moving explosives and IEDs around an abandoned home close to the Mamuzi health clinic near Bar Janek Kheyl Village in eastern Zormat.

The caller kept watch on the activity of the insurgents while the ANA informed 2nd Plt., Co. C, of the situation. The ANA and coalition forces could not act immediately due to weather but spent the day planning what to do as soon as the weather cleared.

The next morning the security forces headed to the Mamuzi clinic.

The ANA searched both the abandoned home as well as some sink holes near it, thinking the pits would be good places to hide things.

First Lt. Pallawan, a platoon leader for 3rd Coy, jumped into one of these sink holes and found fresh footprints. He began digging with his hands then some of his soldiers jumped in to help. After a few minutes, they found something.

“They found two large sandbags,” said Smith, commenting on the source of the IED-making materials. “We immediately cleared the area of civilians and sent a small search party to exploit the site.”

Once the cache was unearthed the evidence was photographed and the ANA carefully bagged it to avoid contamination.

Before leaving the village, Pallawan held an impromptu meeting with the primary healthcare provider of the Mamuzi health clinic, the night watchman on duty the night prior, villagers and elders.

Pallawan showed the elders the contents of the cache, placing emphasis on the land mines.

“This stuff is getting buried in your backyard,” explained Pallawan. His comments focused on the fact that land mines don’t discriminate; anyone could be affected by them. He emphasised the need for the villagers to report any insurgent activity they see as any villager could get hurt by the explosives.

The ANA and coalition forces returned to base where an explosive ordinance disposal team destroyed the munitions, and the IEDs were packaged and sent to Bagram Airfield for forensic testing.

Smith and his platoon were happy to do their job working with the ANA.

“Any day that you take eight IEDs out of the fight is a good day for us,” said Smith.PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – After finding fresh footprints at the bottom of a sink hole near Bar Janek Kheyl Village in Zormat District Feb. 5, 1st Lt. Pallawan, a platoon leader for 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak of the Afghan National Army begins digging. Two sandbags filled with multiple complete improvised explosive devices, one incomplete IED, a make-shift claymore mine, a mortar round and two anti-tank mines were ultimately found. This is the third cache found by the ANA and Co. C in eastern Zormat in the last week. (Photo by US Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith, Company C, Task Force Lethal)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith of Altoona, Iowa, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Company C, Task Force Lethal, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, helps an Afghan National Army soldier of the 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak bag several improvised explosive devices in Zormat District Feb. 5. The items were found after ANA and coalition forces received a tip generated by the Guardians of Peace program. The rest of the munitions in the cache, including a mortar round, a make-shift claymore mine and two anti-tank mines, were destroyed by an explosive ordnance disposal team. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith, Company C, Task Force Lethal)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – First Lt. Pallawan, a platoon leader for 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak of the Afghan National Army, discusses the importance of reporting suspicious activity to Afghan National Security Forces with the primary health provider at Mamuzi clinic, the night watchman and village elders in Zormat District Feb. 5. Several improvised explosive devices and other munitions had just been found in a sink hole near the clinic. Pallawan stressed that IEDs planted by insurgent forces do not target only ANSF and coalition forces; innocent villagers can be hurt as well. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Smith, Company C, Task Force Lethal)

 

Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 01:09
 

    

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The security and safety of Afghan civilians is an important part of every coalition operation. All weapons caches found during these operations are destroyed to ensure they do not harm civilians or military personnel.

“Mines are indiscriminate killers. They don’t distinguish between Soldiers or civilians, between men, women or children. We must all work together to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly weapons,” said U.S. Army Col. Ben Corell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

If you see any suspicious activity or know of a weapons cache in your area, please report it. Call the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Tip Line at 079-662-0193 or at 079-397-0975.