By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Spreitzer
Task Force White Eagle
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The morning silence is broken by the dull thump of helicopter blades cutting through the sky as three Polish Mi-17s carry their passengers to a remote location in Jaghatu District, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Upon arrival, 15 Afghan Uniformed Policemen and 15 Polish soldiers prepared to exploit an enemy cache.
Jaghatu, a mostly Hazaran district, isn’t rife with insurgent activity, but the Polish National Counterintelligence Cell, or NKK, and the Task Force White Eagle Intelligence section received information on a possible cache in the area. Working together over an eight-day period, TF White Eagle analyzed terrain and weather data, patterns of life, information gathered from reconnaissance flights, and information from two separate sources to put together a solid plan of action and present it to the AUP to conduct the combined assault.
Once on the ground, snipers from B Company secured the perimeter and provided overwatch for the assaulting force of AUP. The AUP moved from the landing zone to the objective some 500 meters away. Once at the objective, the AUP uncovered a small cache at the base of a hill. Once evidence was collected, Polish Sappers moved in and destroyed the cache in place.
Capt. Przemyslaw “Vader” Wardowski, the TF White Eagle intelligence chief, indicated that due to the size and location of the cache, it may be a transitional cache. The insurgents use caches to store the weapons that they use in a central location, typically for more than one group of insurgents to use. This cache was interesting in that it was small in size, in a relatively remote location, and contained newer equipment.
“We believe that the insurgents were using this as a transitional cache; a place where they could store a small amount of weapons to transport into a more Taliban neutral area such as Rashidan,” said Wardowski.
The cache contained a mix of rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 60mm Austrian and Chinese mortars, a few 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, and 60 23mm ZU-23 anti-aircraft rounds.
Commenting on the contents of the cache, Wardowski said, “It’s interesting that most of the equipment was newer, usually we see older Soviet-era equipment. We also found anti-aircraft ammunition, which is interesting because we’ve heard reports that the Taliban in the area may have an anti-aircraft weapon. We haven’t been able to confirm this, but it does make us a little more suspicious.”
Task Force White Eagle continues to advise and assist the ANSF in Ghazni and their success is ever growing. Col. Christopher Lawson, deputy U.S. commander for Task Force White Eagle, is impressed by the abilities of the ANSF every day.
“The Afghan Uniformed Police are a versatile force that can protect the people of the provinces and can do partnered time-sensitive, air assault tactical operations. Both of these types of operations prevent the loss of life and create the conditions of sustainable security,” said Lawson.
This work, Combined air assault mission nets “interesting” cache in Jaghatu District, by Dianne Moffett, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.