News: Iraqi army, U.S. troops on the hunt
BAGHDAD, Iraq — As Iraqi Security Forces continue their missions inside the city, here, insurgents and criminal groups find themselves forced out to the rural areas.
Recently, insurgents used a local farm on the western outskirts of Baghdad to attack a U.S. convoy.
U.S. infantrymen from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, combed the area with Iraqi Army Soldiers, Nov. 4, to prevent insurgents from gaining a foothold in the area.
"A lot of weapons come through this area into Baghdad," said Spc. Daniel Pacheco, from San Antonio. "Our job is to stop the supply routes into the city."
The joint American/Iraqi patrol searched rows of farmlands and abandoned buildings in the area to hunt for any clues, explained 1st Lt. Mark Hamilton, a platoon leader from Baltimore.
"Historically, the people doing the emplacing or pulling the trigger aren't doing it because they dislike the U.S. or IA, they do it for money," said Hamilton. "The jobless rate out here is very high, I think like 70 percent, so it's important to get out there and go see the people...so that they're not forgotten."
Hamilton stressed that joint patrols like this one allow local farmers to connect with Soldiers, with the hope that they will be less likely to help insurgents in the area.
"We make it a lot harder for the insurgents, so they can't do what they want," added Pacheco, while his fellow troops checked haystacks, looked under empty barrels and searched behind doors.
While many times the searches turn up nothing, Soldiers, like Pacheco, do understand the importance of their role in the out-lying regions of Baghdad.
"If we stop the flow of weapons into the city, then it helps the government get on its feet," said Pacheco. "Helping the capital helps keep the country stable."
Date Posted:11.06.2009 02:24
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