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PAKTIKA PROVINCE, SAR HAWZA DISTRICT, Afghanistan –– Task Force Iron Soldiers speak with local tribal elders in the village of Jarkana at a “shura” or town meeting following a recent joint air-assault mission with members of the Afghan Uniform Police. The village has historically been a Taliban safehaven. Task Force Iron Soldiers hope to change that and help increase security for the village and the area with assistance from the AUP. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)PAKTIKA PROVINCE, SAR HAWZA DISTRICT, Afghanistan –– Task Force Iron Soldiers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, recently conducted a joint air-assault mission with members of the Afghan Uniform Police.

The mission was conducted to provide security to the Jarkana Village located in western Paktika province, Afghanistan. According to intelligence sources, the village is known to be one of several safe havens used by local insurgents to facilitate insurgent operations.

“Upon landing near the village, we were able to identify possible insurgents fleeing from the suspected home of an [insurgent] commander,” said U.S. Army Capt. Vance Gonzales,

a native of Weddington, N.C., executive officer for Co. A, 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Reg. “Soldiers from 1st Platoon quickly moved to isolate the objective and prevent anyone else from fleeing or reinforcing the village.”

The next step of the operation was establishing perimeter security and allowing the AUP forces to move through the village. “While they were conducting a search of the village, our Soldiers maintained fire support and security,” said Gonzales.

The AUP completed their search without incident and determined there was no immediate threat in the village.

“There was no evidence of the [insurgent] commander or his fighters,” said Col. Saaid Hussainullah Garaund, an officer with the National Directorate of Security who works in the district. “This is one of many towns we believe he uses, and we can’t expect to catch him at the first one.”

Following the search a “shura” or townhall meeting was organized by Gonzales and U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Fivecoat, a Delaware, Ohio, native and battalion commander of 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Reg.  

The U.S. forces sat down with 12 of the village elders and discussed the village’s future.  

The leadership discussed plans for maintaining the village’s security and preventing the insurgents from returning after the Afghan security forces departed.  The village elders also discussed the upcoming elections.

Although the Taliban commander was not caught, Gonzales still sees the mission as a success.

“The enemy forces can now see the Afghan National Security Forces ability to move into insurgent sanctuaries and disrupt them,” said Gonzales. “The AUP were very efficient today in the village. They required minimal assistance from the U.S. forces, and it is a testament to the improvements they continue to make each day.”



Last Updated on Monday, 19 July 2010 22:39

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