News: Afghan National Army repairs Paktika thoroughfare
By U.S. Army 1st Lt. Stephanie Sefren
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers recently conducted several route repair missions in Paktika province along essential roads damaged by insurgent-placed roadside bombs.
One recent effort, led by the ANA’s 4th Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 203rd Corps, Engineer Coy, with advisory support from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, cleared a major Paktika thoroughfare for the local populace.
The routes cleared by the Afghan soldiers run the entire length of western Paktika province and are important trade roads. An improvised explosive device embedded in a culvert that ran beneath the road had caused substantial damage and made it impassable.
With the Afghans in the lead, 203 Corps and 1st Infantry Division soldiers traveled together to the site and began repairs.
Coalition forces were there to provide guidance and equipment for the more complex work.
While repairs were being made, large amounts of traffic had to be redirected. The population had the opportunity to see firsthand the tremendous efforts of the ANA to keep peace and build a greater Afghanistan.
To deter insurgents from placing another device, a culvert denial system was put in place. This system blocks the outsides of the culvert to prevent insurgents from planting IED’s within the tunnels.
The mission was a great example of the enormous strides the ANA is making towards taking charge of the security mission in Afghanistan.
“ANA Soldiers are incredibly competent and hardworking,” said 1st Lt. Preston Pham. “With the right supplies and a little more technical knowledge, they will be able to function independently.”
Staff Sgt. Shawn Torgerson echoed his lieutenant’s enthusiasm about the Afghan soldiers’ capabilities.
“I was impressed with the hard manual labor the Afghan soldiers were doing and their resourcefulness in completing the repairs,” he said.