BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN
By Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie
Combined Joint Task Force - 101
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Members of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, are seeing positive results from their increased presence at the newly built Combat Outpost Terminator in Maywand District, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Within weeks of building a permanent COP, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Soldiers reported an increased willingness from local residents to assist, and receive assistance from, coalition forces.
"When we first came to the area, no one would talk to us," said Capt. Chris Brawley, Alpha Co. commander and an Ellington, Mo., native. "As soon as we started building, they began talking to us."
COP Terminator was built to restrict Taliban movement through the area.
"The Maywand District is used to move supplies, narcotics and medical support for the Taliban," said Spc. Andrew Gardiner, 2nd Bn, 2nd Inf. Soldier and a Glouster, Va., native. "Our goal here is to disrupt the supply routes for the Taliban."
This was a difficult task for Soldiers to accomplish prior to establishing a permanent presence.
"Before, we came here for a couple of days but then we would leave and it would be back to business as usual for [the Taliban]," said Brawley. "People have told us that [within days] of building, the Taliban started clearing out of here."
Alpha Co. Soldiers want to continue to build on this success.
"When we first got here most people would tell you that it was six months since they had last seen coalition forces, and one day since they had last seen the Taliban," said Brawley. "We want to reverse that. We want to patrol so much that we are a constant presence."
Gardiner believes this will continue to grow support in the area.
"They are warming up to us because they recognize we are going to stay here," he said. "Our area of influence will expand as we have more opportunities to get out and talk to people. Each time we patrol, we try to talk to more people. They are definitely more positive about our presence."
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This work, Newly established Combat Outpost sees quick progress, by SMSgt Jill LaVoie, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.