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    Lock Down: Afghan National Security Forces, Marines interdict insurgent movement

    Lock Down: Afghan National Security Forces, Marines interdict insurgent movement

    Photo By Cpl. Colby Brown | A member of the Afghan National Police searches a local man at a vehicle checkpoint...... read more read more

    GARMSIR DISTRICT, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

    11.03.2011

    Story by Cpl. Colby Brown 

    Regimental Combat Team-5

    GARMSIR DISTRICT, Helmand Province, Afghanistan — Afghan National Security Forces and Marines from 1st and 3rd Battalions, 3rd Marine Regiment are putting the lock down on roads in Garmsir during operation gridlock here, Nov. 1 and 5.

    The operation is focused on bolstering searches conducted at checkpoints, searching every vehicle that passes, on key routes through out the district. Temporary vehicle checkpoints are also conducted while coalition forces are on patrol.

    “You close off the routes where checkpoints are at and search what is coming in and going out of the area,” said Capt. Jason Hoffman, officer in-charge of 1/3’s Police Advisor Team and native of Johnson City, Tenn. “It is held to interdict narcotics trafficking and to disrupt enemy activity.”

    “If an insurgent is driving around and is randomly stopped and searched, it limits his ability to move around freely and operate,” added Hoffman.

    Key items being searched for include poppy seed, nitrate fertilizer – often a key component in improvised explosive devices – and other forms of contraband deemed illegal by the Afghan government. Although there is no primary objective, high value person or equipment, of this operation, its effectiveness is not based on tangible seizures.

    With vehicle checkpoints being held randomly across the district, the operation limits insurgent ability to move freely around district.

    “It’s kind of like a sobriety checkpoint back in the states,” said Hoffman. “They are looking for a specific type of person, someone under the influence. With this operation we are looking for people who have poppy or contraband.”

    Similar operations have been conducted more than five times during 1/3’s deployment. Many of these operations follow or are a precursor to events, and may be conducted as result of intelligence gathered in the district.

    This operation is being conducted ahead of the poppy-growing season. Seizing seed and fertilizer will prevent poppy from being planted and, in turn, limit narcotics trafficking in Garmsir.

    “This operation is important because when you operate in an area it pushes out the insurgents from that area,” said Afghan National Police Lt. Col. Saifullah, Garmsir chief of police and a native of Sangin district. “So these kinds of operations are effective because they are conducted all over Garmsir and disrupt enemy activity.”

    Operation Gridlock is also a way to bolster the confidence of ANSF in Garmsir. For the ANP and Afghan Local Police, vehicle checkpoints are a regular duty. When they coordinate with the rest of the district and conduct synchronized vehicle checkpoints, it creates a unified atmosphere.

    “It’s a good learning experience for the policeman and it’s important to be able to work with the Marines and learn from them,” said Saifullah. “The policemen learn how to search vehicles and gather intelligence from an area during these operations.”

    “These operations are only a small part of building Garmsir,” added Saifullah. “Other things we can do are build hospitals, schools, and permanent police precincts, but these operations are a necessity to make that happen.”

    Editor’s note: First Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghanistan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling the ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.03.2011
    Date Posted: 11.03.2011 00:51
    Story ID: 79478
    Location: GARMSIR DISTRICT, HELMAND PROVINCE, AF

    Web Views: 1,109
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