News: Making History with Malajat
Story by Spc. Casey Collier
KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces, (including Afghan National Army, Afghan National Civil Order Police, and Afghan National Police) assisted by coalition forces, conducted a search and clear operation July 7 in Kandahar City, Afghanistan.
It was the first operation of its kind in Regional Command (South), having been planned and organized solely by ANSF, with coalition forces involved only for the execution of the operation.
A massive effort, unprecedented in its number of ANSF participants, Operation Malajat, (named for a small community located in Sub-district 6 of Kandahar City) consisted of more than 550 ANSF and coalition troops, tasked to search and secure Malajat, (an area roughly 10 square km. in size).
Capt. Matt Rolls, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, and native of Sackville, Nova Scotia, assisted in the 12-hour operation.
“It was an ANSF-led operation from the ground up. They planned it, told us what they wanted to achieve, and linked us up with a ‘section’ of nine ANP troops. So, we’re out here supporting them in a search of a village called: Gari, (in the Malajat area of District 6).
“The ANP are good, and they’re professional. They’ve still got things to learn. But the biggest thing is that they are eager. They want to do well, and get better at their jobs,” said Rolls.
During the course of the morning’s search of Gari, the ANP partnered with the 2nd Battalion, searched everything from hay stacks, (meticulously picking through by handfuls) to rooftops. Once inside a residential compound, the ANP and Canadian Soldiers could be found consistently engaging the residents of the village in conversation for useful information concerning insurgent activity.
Near the end of the village search, a shell from a luminary round with timing mechanism still attached was found by an ANP officer. The contraband was confiscated and the owner of the residence was tested for traces of explosives residue. The tests were negative.
After speaking with the local elder, it was determined that the resident in question was not a threat, and the search continued.
Once complete, the search concluded with the ANP leading 2nd Battalion out of the village.
The success of the operation was dependent on the interaction of ANSF with local residents, and the sheer size of the operation taking place without incidence of violence. ANSF achieved both objectives and concluded the operation by mid-day.
“This mission incorporated all facets of ANSF, but also had Canadian OMLT, [Operational Mentor and Liaison Team] American MP mentors, and the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. So, it was truly a joint operation from every facet,” said Maj. Steve Noel, India Company, KPRT, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, “The intent here was to go into areas that have relatively low freedom of movement due to insurgents. The ANSF recognized that, got great direction from the Deputy Governor of Kandahar City, and they acted very quickly on that."
“Essentially, a 550-man task force went down into Malajat, targeted nine areas, and searched the compounds. Within those areas, we’ve disrupted the insurgents, taken those areas from them, and shown the locals we are here to support them.
“The status of the work we are doing here in Kandahar City, and really in Afghanistan in total- is improving. That’s due to the great things we’re seeing from the Afghan National Security Forces, and the Afghan Government. The international community stands behind that effort. We’re facilitating, but the Afghans are now taking the lead. It’s great to see.”