News: Detention of six suspected insurgents culminates week of ANSF and coalition special operations forces partnership
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Dillon
URUZGAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A successful week of partnered operations between Afghan National Security Forces and coalition special operations forces culminated with the apprehension of six suspected insurgents in Uruzgan and Zabul provinces, March 21-28.
Afghan Local Police detained two suspects in Shahid-e Hasas district, Uruzgan province, March 23 while conducting a foot patrol in Tagaw Valley. The suspects were operating a motorbike before being intercepted and searched by ALP members. After discovering the men had sophisticated improvised explosive device components in their possession, the police notified nearby 8th Commando Kandak soldiers who arrived on scene, took custody of the men and transported them to a coalition special operations forces camp for further questioning. A preliminary investigation determined one of the suspects had connections to an attempted IED attack in Helmand province in March 2010. Both men were transferred to a coalition detention facility for further processing.
Soldiers from the Afghan National Army special forces and 8th Commando Kandak partnered with coalition special operations forces to detain three additional suspects in Shahid-e Hasas district, March 26, during a deliberate operation to capture a known IED expert and manufacturer. The combined element inserted into the suspect’s village undetected and successfully located and detained the man at daybreak. During tactical questioning, the man attempted to use several aliases however, several villagers, to include the suspect’s mother, confirmed his identity.
Another villager led the combined element to the nearby residence of a man alleged to be an insurgent commander. ANSF detained the man and his son after a search of their home revealed IED components.
Two of the men remain in the commando’s custody awaiting transfer to permanent detention facilities. ANSF questioned and released the son of the suspected insurgent commander.
ANSF also detained a suspected insurgent spotter in Tarnak Wa Jaldak district, Zabul province, March 21. The man’s suspicious behavior during a district shura led Afghan Uniform Police to search his home where they discovered a pair of binoculars and military style boots.
“ANSF should be very pleased with their efforts this week,” said Cmdr. Mike Hayes, commander, Special Operations Task Force South East. “They took the lead on three separate occasions to capture suspected insurgents; it’s clear they take their duty very seriously and are determined to protect the people they serve.”
As ANSF and coalition special operations forces made security gains throughout the provinces, insurgents orchestrated attacks designed to target Afghan government and coalition officials.
In Chora district March 26, insurgents armed a 12-year-old child with a suicide vest in a targeted attempt to attack a coalition government development official.
The official and three members of coalition forces were walking to a nearby coalition camp after attending a governance shura when the child ran toward the men and detonated the suicide vest. The blast killed the child instantly and caused non-life-threatening injuries to each of the men.
On March 24, an IED blast in Tarin Kowt district, Uruzgan province, killed Haji Khairo Jan, a close confidante of both Omar Sherzad, Uruzgan provincial governor, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Jan was traveling in a vehicle with three security personnel and one tribal elder when a remote-controlled IED detonated killing all the passengers.
“This is the third murder of government officials this year in Tarin Kowt,” said Hayes. “The attacks show insurgents are threatened by GIRoA and the success of the partnership between the Afghan government and coalition forces.”
IEDs were also responsible for killing an Afghan National Army soldier and injuring another ANA soldier and teenage boy. Both ANA casualties occurred when a pressure-plate IED detonated in Shahid-e Hasas district, Uruzgan province, March 24.
The ANA and AUP were conducting a route clearance when they came under insurgent attack. The combined element returned fire, killing one insurgent and wounding another however, while diverting from the marked route to repel the attack, the IED denoted killing one ANA soldier and wounding another.
The next day, also in Shahid-e Hasas district, a 16-year-old boy sustained injuries when he unknowing picked up an IED off the ground and it exploded. The village’s religious leader found the boy and brought him to a local coalition special operations forces camp where he was treated and released.
Additional IED attacks were prevented this week when ANSF and coalition special operations forces partnered to find and destroy six IEDs emplaced throughout Zabul province.
ALP returning to a checkpoint found an IED on a main road in Shah Joy district, March 25. The police secured the device and transported it to a nearby coalition special operations forces camp where bomb experts captured fingerprints from the bomb’s components before destroying it.
The next day, ANA patrolling through Arghandab district found five IEDs near a security checkpoint on a main road. Coalition special operations forces assisted in destroying the devices, which contained an estimated 180 pounds of homemade explosives. ANSF assessed the IEDs to be several months old and believe they will continue to find historic IEDs throughout the valley.
“The discovery and destruction of these IEDs shows ANSF is breaking the insurgent’s control and influence of movement in the area,” said a coalition special operations forces member.
Additional partnered operations throughout the provinces secured more of the region and strengthened the rapport between villagers and ANSF.
Soldiers from the 8th Commando Kandak and members of coalition special operations forces conducted a clearance and disruption operation in Sayedan village, Shah Joy district, Zabul province, March 22-23. During the operation, the commandos conducted shuras with the assistance of the village’s religious leaders.
“The operation disrupted any potential insurgent activity in the area and showed the people their government is serious about establishing security throughout Afghanistan,” said a coalition special operations forces member.
In Shahid-e Hasas district, Uruzgan province, March 24, ANASF partnered with coalition special operations forces to lead an operation to clear the area of insurgent activity and engage with the locals.
“ANASF held shuras during the operation and found the elders and religious leaders welcomed their presence,” said a coalition special operations forces member.
Other initiatives throughout the provinces continued to show positive signs of security progress.
ANA, ALP and coalition special operations forces members united with villagers to construct a new security checkpoint in Arghandab district, Zabul province, March 21. Before construction began, ANA and ALP leadership spoke with village elders about the ALP program and their effort to protect and secure the village.
“Input from the villagers in the area is a necessity in order for checkpoints to be constructed and the ALP program to develop,” said a coalition special operations forces member. “The villagers responded well and now security is a reality in the region; villagers can frequent the bazaar and district center without fear.”
ANA and ALP members will man the checkpoint until additional ALP volunteers are recruited and trained.
Also in Zabul province ANA, ALP, coalition special operations forces and the local populace completed construction of a new security checkpoint in Shay Joy district, March 22.
“This was a strong show of force by the community. The checkpoint will allow ALP to disrupt a historic insurgent bed down and staging area,” said a coalition special operations forces member.
In Chora district, Uruzgan province, twelve men became the first graduates of the Kalach ALP academy, March 27.
ANASF, AUP and coalition special operations forces worked side-by-side to instruct the academy’s three-week course that teaches candidates basic policing procedures, weapons handling and other skills necessary to protect and defend Afghan citizens. The group also provided instruction on the Afghan constitution and Afghan laws.
“The new ALP members are highly motivated and tactically capable of providing security to the people,” said a coalition special operations forces member. Infrastructure projects and medical care initiatives also gained momentum this week with ANSF and coalition special operations forces support.
In Arghandab district, Zabul province, March 26, coalition special operations forces and ANSF members constructed a bridge across the Arghandab River, enabling villagers to access vital government services.
“This new bridge creates a viable crossing that can be used throughout the flooding months. The increased freedom of movement allows locals access to the bazaar, the district center, the health clinic and nearby roads. The should alleviate the pressure villagers feel from insurgents during months that previously left them isolated from GIRoA and ANSF support,” said a coalition special operations forces member.
To gain a better understanding of some of the government services available in the region, ANSF and coalition special operations forces medical personnel visited a medical clinic in Khas Uruzgan district, Uruzgan province, March 21. The combined element assessed the clinic’s condition to determine what improvements could better serve the patients.
“We spoke with three midwives from the clinic,” said a coalition special operations forces member. “The midwives deliver 10 to 15 babies each month with limited supplies. They requested support in acquiring face masks, pediatric stethoscopes, an ultrasound machine and procedural table covers.”
When locals have limited access to medical facilities or a clinic is limited in the type of treatment it can provide, ANSF and coalition SOF often partner to alleviate some of those challenges and bring medical care directly to villagers.
In Chora district, Uruzgan province, March 25-26, ALP, ANASF and coalition special operations forceshosted a medical care clinic for women and children.
“During shuras, the local leaders consistently requested the female medical care clinic,” said a coalition special operations forces member. “So we worked with our partners and brought in a team to treat the females in the village.”
Female medical personnel working with coalition special operations forces saw more than 25 patients during the two-day clinic.
“These types of events foster closer ties between ANSF, coalition SOF and the local populace,” said Hayes. “It shows we’re all committed to work together and provide, not just security, but a better quality of life to the people of Afghanistan.”
This work, Detention of six suspected insurgents culminates week of ANSF and coalition special operations forces partnership, by PO1 Jacob Dillon, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.