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    Insurgents plant bomb disguised as candy in Afghan neighborhood



    Story by 1st Lt. Brian MacKey 

    20th Engineer Battalion

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Last week U.S. Army combat engineers with the 20th Engineer Battalion took part in the clearance of a shrapnel-laden IED disguised as a bag of candy, located in a neighborhood crowded with children.

    The Task Force LUMBERJACK Route Clearance Patrol investigated the device, reported by a U.S. Stryker Unit already on the scene. Using loudspeakers, the platoon was able to keep the villagers clear while they neutralized the device with the support of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

    In Afghanistan's Kandahar Province, insurgents are using despicable desperation tactics such as these. Task Force LUMBERJACK Route Clearance Patrols are finding and clearing an increased number of IEDs before they can be detonated on civilians or coalition forces. In the past 14 days, insurgents have planted three IEDs in this neighborhood alone packed with shrapnel to target people on foot. They have disguised them as household items; in addition to the candy, they have been found planted in a blanket and a basket.

    Afghan National Security Forces supported by NATO troops are putting increased pressure on insurgents in Kandahar. In another instance, Afghan army personnel reported an IED they had found in a compound along a village on Highway 1 in Kandahar. LUMBERJACK soldiers pulled up the device and neutralized it in a vacant field nearby, while Afghan soldiers helped to cordon off the area. The ANSF are becoming increasingly adept at finding IEDs as they patrol their own roads and villages in the region, showing courage and resolve in their efforts to counter the insurgency.

    "ANSF and coalition forces are out there, putting themselves on the line to protect the local populations here in Afghanistan," says Lt. Col. Pete Andrysiak, Task Force LUMBERJACK commander. "The insurgents have no regard for the locals."

    In the last two weeks, LUMBERJACK patrols supporting ANSF have found and cleared 15 IEDs from the roads of Southern Afghanistan.

    In all, the 20th Engineer Battalion commands 16 route clearance platoons across five companies. Combined, the platoons have conducted nearly 1,000 missions across tens of thousands of kilometers in their four months so far in Afghanistan. Altogether, Task Force LUMBERJACK consists of more than 900 Soldiers.

    The 20th is part of the 36th Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Hood, Texas.



    Date Taken: 06.06.2010
    Date Posted: 06.06.2010 23:12
    Story ID: 50966
    Location: KANDAHAR, AF 

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