News: Lethal, competent, and independent, ANSF set conditions for success
Story by Dianne Moffett
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Spreitzer
Task Force White Eagle
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A recent article from mid-eastern media outlet Press TV reported “Taliban militants have captured most villages in Rashidan District in the eastern province of Ghazni, local officials have told Press TV. The militants attacked the Rashidan district on Wednesday night and took control of several parts of the troubled region. The district chief fled his office in the face of Taliban rocket attacks and bombings. The office is reportedly seized by Taliban Militants.”
Nothing could be further from the truth in Rashidan. Though the district is a highly contested area and is known to harbor insurgents, recent clashes between Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban in Rashidan are the result of a deliberately planned and executed combined mission in the district to deliver election materials and move the district center. The operation aimed to set conditions for the 2014 elections in the region.
The Ghazni Provincial Chief of Police, Brig. Gen. Zahid Zarawar, and Col. Nikpai Haider, Commander of the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Brigade, 203rd Corps, planned and executed the unnamed mission with support from the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of the Interior.
“This mission was coordinated with all of the Afghanistan security pillars and we ensured it was supported with heavy engineering equipment, supplies, and Soldiers,” said Col. Haider. The combined effort was carried out during Ramadan to engage the enemy while they were focused on recovery and resupply.
“Rashidan has been disconnected from the central government of Afghanistan for the past several years and has not had a governmental structure that focuses on security, development, or governance,” said Brig. Gen. Zarawar. “The mission was important to establish a new district center to open lines of communications and allow freedom of movement for the local people.”
The Afghan National Police led patrol pushed through a very dangerous area taking multiple strikes from improvised explosive devices and small arms fire from the enemy over the three day operation to ensure that the district center was established and supplies were delivered in Rashidan.
Col. Cristopher Lawson, U.S. Deputy Commander for Task Force White Eagle said, “The combined efforts of the ANSF and Afghan and Coalition Forces casualty evacuation and air support were key to mission success.”
Lawson also went on to say that Coalition Forces are taking note in Ghazni Province. “The ANSF in the region are moving towards independent operations at an astounding rate. The success of missions in highly contested areas like Rashidan bolsters not only the confidence of the ANSF, but instills faith in the people of Afghanistan. Faith in the ability of their own brothers and sisters to secure peace for them and their families when Coalition Forces cease combat operations at the close of 2014,” said Lawson.