GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – More than 100 members from the Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team and Coalition forces participated in Operation Thunder IX, a clearing operation with the Afghan National Army soldiers, in the district of Gelan, Jan. 6-7.
The Afghan-led operation involved clearing buildings and establishing security, which helped the ANA soldiers fine-tune their newly-acquired skills in establishing security against insurgents.
The Coalition forces who participated included soldiers from Poland’s 2nd Operational Mentoring Liaison Team, members from Task Force Paladin Explosive Ordnance Disposal and a Route Clearing Package Team from Forward Operating Base Sherona.
“Since the beginning of my tour, we’ve conducted six missions with the ANA,” said Lt. Col. Romon Utracki, Polish OMLT Commander assigned to FOB Warrior. “On those missions, the ANA detained a total of six people and found one weapons cache.”
To make the operation as challenging as possible, the ANA chose specific targets because of the high level of Anti-Afghan forces that had been recently harassing the local population.
“It is our job to provide training for the ANA who work in this theater,” said Utracki. “We accomplished our mission today. They decided their targets, created a plan and stuck with it. They did a good job.”
During the operation, 2nd OMLT established close supporting positions to cover for the ANA, while the other elments secured the outer perimeter.
Once the ANA had cleared and secured the areas, civil affairs members from the PRT took the opportunity to meet with the village elders to ask about the needs of the village and gauge the relationships between the villagers and the ANSF.
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