PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan Uniformed Police led a joint operation with Company A, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, in Jaji District that resulted in the discovery of a large insurgent weapons cache and several detainees Dec. 16.
The cache included more than 25 rocket-propelled grenades, multiple mortar rounds, bomb-making materials and ammunition for small arms.
The insurgents have used the area as a safe haven and as a hub to coordinate indirect fire attacks on Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces throughout Jaji District.
“I knew there were [nsurgents] living in that area,” said AUP Lt. Mahboob, a platoon leader in Jaji.
Prior to the mission the villagers hadn’t been receptive to coalition forces.
“Our predecessors told us [the village] was a bad place to go,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Mark Lucas of Iowa City, Iowa, platoon leader with Co A., 1st Bn., 168th Inf.
The combined forces embraced the village with a friendly smile and treated the villagers with respect throughout the operation.
“The villagers at the end of the operation wanted us to stay. They wanted to have a shura and chai tea with us,” Lucas said.
During the movement out of the area, the combined forces took RPG and small-arms fire. The group quickly gained fire superiority, managed to keep the insurgents suppressed and allowed the ANSF and coalition forces to move to safety.