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Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

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PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan--U.S. Army Soldiers from Task Force White Currahee , Easy Company , 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division stand guard on a mountain overlooking the district of Naka during Operation Overlord, Afghanistan, April 14. Operation Overlord, a joint effort with Afghan national Army, pushed Taliban forces out of Naka and denied them exit through the mountain terrain. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Nearly 350 Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. Army Soldiers from Task Force White Currahee air assaulted into Naka District, Afghanistan for the first time this deployment April 10-21.


Their mission, the largest combined operations for TF White Currahee, was to clear and eliminate the insurgent staging area.

The preparation for Operation Overlord was months in the making.

“Traditionally, (insurgents) have used Naka as a staging area and bed down location, so they can conduct operations throughout our AO and AOs to the south,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Matthew D. Nunes, the platoon leader with 2nd Platoon, Co. E, 2-506th, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div. and native of Dennis, Mass. “Throughout the deployment we have been doing shaping (operations) to cut off their access to the rest of our AO and basically limit them to only being able to operate in Naka. This was our big push to take Naka away from them too.”

According to U.S. Army Spc. Rex W. Hann, an infantryman with 1st Platoon, Company E ‘Easy’, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Lafayette, Ind., their mission was to disrupt any enemy that might be in the area and keep the local populace in Naka safe.

“It affects the overall security, because we have pretty much pushed the Taliban and foreign fighters to Naka, the farthest point from our (Combat Outpost), and we are trying to push them completely out of (our area of operations). Their last strong hold was in Naka,” he said.

Not only did the Soldiers face the challenge of clearing unfamiliar hostile territory, they accomplished it in weather conditions that included rain, hail, cold temperatures and gusty winds with enough equipment on their backs to last a minimum of three days.

“We carried around 110 pounds worth of gear in the rain, cold and wind while we moved around the mountains in the vicinity of Naka,” said Nunes.

During missions to remote villages the Soldiers face other challenges outside of the enemy threat.

“There are a lot of challenges, but one of the biggest is the communication barrier,” said Hann. “It is hard to speak to the locals not knowing the language—a lot of times they won’t trust the Americans because the Taliban has influenced them or told them false things about (us).”

To counter the issue, the Soldiers of Easy Company encouraged their Afghan National Police counterparts to take the lead when dealing with their countrymen.

“We worked with the ANP on this mission,” said U.S. Army Spc. Sean P. Bedard, a counter-insurgency team leader with E Co., 2-506th Inf. Reg., and native of Castor Valley, Calif. “It really helps to have them with us because it puts a local face on what we are trying to do, and the villagers trust these guys more because they speak the same language.”

The Currahee Soldiers and their ANP partners occupied the area around Naka for more than 11 days and they faced an enemy that did not seem content attacking their combat force head on.

“(Insurgents) had left the villages by the time we got there,” said Nunes. “Their only option was then to operate on the outskirts in the mountains around the towns, because they were unable to operate in the town, that only left them able to attack our blocking positions, our support by fire and our patrol bases.”

“I think they were expecting some kind of mission to come to Naka, but I don’t think they expected it to be on the level that we did,” said Nunes. “I think they will be frustrated now because they won’t be able to use Naka the way that they always have.”

In fact, Nunes said Soldiers of “Easy” Company, spent the majority of their deployment disrupting insurgents’ lives and taking away their ability to move with ease.

“When we got to (Combat Outpost) Zerok we were getting hit with (indirect fire) on a day-to-day basis,” said Nunes. “The (company) made the effort to go out and do repetitive, monotonous, horrible patrols in the mountains and we took the IDF locations away from the enemy. Then, we expanded further to more and more towns and are having more and more shuras with the villagers and we have put in the work to make sure the insurgents are unable to bypass our presence.”

The mission resulted in four suspected and two confirmed enemy-killed-in action, the discovery of several improvised explosive devices and an enemy that is now unable to occupy an area once known as a safe haven.

“Naka was known as the ‘place where the bad guys are’, it was their safe haven; it is said that the Americans can’t really go in there, but all year we have been locking down the AO,” he said.  “It is rewarding to finally be able to go in and say nobody has been able to go here before and now we have done it.”

Hann said he is proud of what he and his fellow Currahee Soldiers accomplished.

“This (was) the last strong hold of the Taliban in our AO, and we pushed them out of this area. Now our AO will be pretty much secure, and the local people can go on about their daily lives and not have to worry about being harmed by the Taliban,” said Hann. “I love my job. I love the fact that I am helping protect my fellow Americans, and that I am helping to protect the Afghans. I believe that everybody has a right to be free.” PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan—Brig. Gen. Steve Townsend, Deputy Commanding General of Operations, 101st Airborne Division, talks to Lt. Col. Don H. Hill, commander of 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Task Force White Currahee during Operation Overlord, April 14. Operation Overlord, a joint effort with Afghan national Army, pushed Taliban forces out of Naka and denied them exit through the mountain terrain. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)An Afghan Uniformed Police Officer walks past a camel being led by a local farmer in Naka District, Afghanistan during Operation Overlord, April 14. Operation Overlord, a joint effort with Afghan national Army, pushed Taliban forces out of Naka and denied them exit through the mountain terrain. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan—U.S. Army Lt. Col. Darrin C. Ricketts, deputy commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division U.S. Army Lt. Col. Donn H. Hill, commander of Task Force White Currahee, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Uberti, deputy commanding general of Afghan Development, 101st Airborne Div., speak with an Afghan National Army commander for Naka district, Afghanistan, during Operation Overlord, April 14. Operation Overlord, a joint effort with Afghan national Army, pushed Taliban forces out of Naka and denied them exit through the mountain terrain. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan—U.S. Army Pfc. Aharon S. Nelson, the platoon radio transmission officer for Task Force White Currahee, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Thornton, Colo., pulls security during Operation Overlord in Naka district, Afghanistan, April 14. Operation Overlord, a joint effort with Afghan national Army, pushed Taliban forces out of Naka and denied them exit through the mountain terrain. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan—U.S. Army Spc. Sean P. Bedard an infantryman and Counter Insurgency team leader, with Task Force White Currahee, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Castor Valley, Calif., pulls security during Operation Overlord, April 14. Task Force Currahee worked with the Afghan National Police to disrupt the Taliban safe haven and push their forces out of Naka District, Afghanistan during the 11-day mission. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zachary Burke)

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2011 04:32
 

    

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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.

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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.

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