News: Security and government members partner in Southeast provinces
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Dillon
URUZGAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Security and government members, partnered with coalition special operations forces, brought security and stability to the people of Day Kundi, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces, March 15-22.
Throughout the week, the region’s Afghan National Security Forces and coalition SOF found and destroyed 14 improvised explosive devices and successfully defended themselves from insurgents while key development initiatives continued uninterrupted.
In Uruzgan province, ANSF located and reduced an IED near Qadam Shalay village, Khas Uruzgan district, March 15.
Also in Uruzgan, Afghan Security Guards returning from leave in Shahid-e Hasas district informed coalition SOF of a suspected IED along a main road on March 17. With the information provided by the ASG, coalition SOF located and safely destroyed the IED.
“We believe it was intended for ANSF or coalition SOF,” said a coalition SOF member.
On March 18, also in Shahid-e Hasas district, ANSF operating with coalition SOF discovered a roadside IED while traveling to an Afghan Local Police checkpoint. Upon further inspection, they uncovered a pressure plate IED hidden in the tire tracks of the road wired to a jug of homemade explosives. ANSF destroyed the IED onsite without incident.
Shahid-e Hasas security forces continued to protect their citizens from bomb attacks when members of the bazaar’s ALP checkpoint helped identify two suspected suicide bombers. During a routine search, the police observed the men behaving suspiciously and contacted nearby 8th Kandak Commandos for assistance.
After arriving on scene and questioning the individuals, the commandos identified them as potential suicide bombers conducting reconnaissance for a future attack.
“The men had cell phones with multiple memory cards containing up to 50 insurgent training and indoctrination videos,” said a coalition SOF member.
The commandos detained the men and arranged to transfer custody of them to members for the Afghan Uniformed Police.
Shahid-e Hasas security forces members also made time to promote development projects aimed at improving the quality of life for the district’s villagers.
On March 19, AUP partnered with a coalition SOF veterinarian and the new district governor in Sakhar village to provide veterinary training and treat the villager’s animals.
“Haji Abdul Kalik, the newly appointed district governor, demonstrated his intent to serve the people of the district by organizing the event,” said a coalition SOF member. “He had the local radio station broadcast information on the event and 75 locals attended to learn how to care for their animals and to receive treatment for the more than 550 animals they brought to the event. This was an opportunity to show the people the government has a vested interest in the region and will work to provide support any way it can.”
Partnered operations were also evident in other areas of Uruzgan province when ALP came to the aid of an ASG checkpoint commander taking small-arms fire in Khas Uruzgan district, March 19. The ANSF members successfully repelled the insurgents and no one suffered injuries during the attack.
In Day Kundi province, the efforts of ANSF resulted in one enemy killed in action and the destruction of an IED.
On March 19, Afghan National Army special forces soldiers and coalition SOF traveling to conduct a patrol in Kinjak village, Karjan district, identified and reduced the IED at a vehicle turnaround point before receiving reports insurgents were positioning to attack their element. Upon arrival to the village, the partnered forces began their patrol then spotted and engaged eight insurgents on a nearby ridgeline, forcing them to retreat. Reports later indicated the firefight resulted in one insurgent killed.
In Zabul province, ANSF and coalition SOF found and reduced 10 IEDs.
The partnered forces removed eight of those IEDs from two main roadways during a clearance operation in Arghandab district, March 15-17.
“The clearance opened up major routes of Arghandab district connecting the population to the district center and the provincial capital in Qalat,” said a coalition SOF member. “Two days after the operation, shop owners in the Bagh Bazaar reported business already improved.”
On March 20, also in Arghandab district, ANSF discovered and reduced an IED insurgents placed in mine roller tracks created during the clearance operation. Partnered forces said the device consisted of approximately 100 pounds of homemade explosives.
In addition, AUP operating in Tarnak Wa Jaldak district located a partially emplaced IED along the Tarnak River. AUP members partnered with coalition SOF to destroy the IED then traveled to the Kareze Mazar checkpoint where a second IED was discovered in a dirt road at the bottom of a small creek serving as a choke point.
“The area had freshly overturned dirt with river rocks scattered across the top,” said a coalition SOF member. “They were attempting to disguise the location.”
Coalition SOF destroyed the IED without incident.
Beyond tactical security gains, Zabul province also hit a significant administrative milestone in Nawbahar district, March 16.
For the first time ever, the Ministry of Interior solely funded the district’s ALP payday.
“The ALP payment marked the first time the payments came entirely through the Ministry of Interior,” said a coalition SOF member. “The Afghan government has progressed to a point where they do not require coalition assistance in internal, administrative functions such as payments to the ALP.”
The actions of the region’s security and government members across all spectra of development bring confidence to senior members of coalition SOF and demonstrate the provinces are closer than ever to independently providing for the Afghan people.
“I am very pleased to see how Afghan security forces and the Afghan government members are responding to the responsibility of securing and stabilizing the country,” said Cmdr. Mike Hayes, Special Operations Task Force South East Commander. “They have come far and increasingly seeing the significance of taking control without assistance from coalition forces. The future of Afghanistan shows great promise with developments such as these.”