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ABP lead successful operation in southern Afghanistan Story and photos by Sgt. Brendan Mackie Combined Taskforce Viper PAO
International Security Assistance Force members participated in
Operation Southern Strike II in the Spin Boldak district, June 2 to June
The operation, led by the 3rd Kandak of the ABP, focused on
interacting with the local populous as well as disrupting enemy
formations in the vicinity of major passes in the area.
"The major areas of focus were the Ganjitsu Pass, then the P'sha
Pass and obviously the Wonake or Enjergay Pass," said Capt. Sean Nolan,
commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd
Infantry Division. "These are the major passes in our area that the
enemy uses to push supplies and equipment and men through to support
their fight both in the Spin Boldak area and in Afghanistan proper."
During the operation, 17 insurgents were killed, four suspects were
detained and numerous caches of explosives and weapons were discovered.
Among the recovered contraband includes more than 1,400 lbs of
explosives, 19 personnel mines, 12 pressure plates, four rifles, two
rocket launchers, two directional fragmentation charges, one pistol and
numerous rounds of ammunition.
Miscellaneous components of improvised explosive devices also recovered
include 12 cell phones, 13 power sources, eight blasting caps, eight
motorcycles, 18 feet of detonation cord and 50 feet of lamp cord.
Although these statistics are important, the biggest accomplishment
resides in the performance by the ABP, said Nolan.
"This was our first major operation with them and we were unsure how
things would go at a larger level," he continued. "It was just
impressive on all ends."
During the operation the ABP was able to provide a continuous level of
support to include providing themselves with water, food, fuel as well
as the ability to perform at a tactical and strategic level not seen
before in this district.
"I was very impressed by them," he continued. "What was really exciting
to see, as the operation commenced, [was when] they took more and more
of a lead role."
Early in the operation, the ABP and ISAF forces exploited areas that
were identified through intelligence sources. In those villages, locals
were able to provide the ABP with valuable information about the enemy
and their movements.
"By midway to the end they [ABP] were pointing out objectives," Nolan
added. "They were taking the lead and telling us, 'we need to go here
and do this and that,' to the point where we were actually having to
hold them back to coordinate assets. It was very impressive to see them
really take leadership and ownership within their own area."
Looking forward, the biggest thing to understand is how ready the
Afghans are in taking over the mission, said Nolan.
"They're just looking for us to enable them to win," he said.
"It's no longer the old days of us having to drag them to the objective
and show them what right looks like. They want to go. They know where to
go. They know what to do when they get there."
Although this was the first operation between Nolan's company and the
local ABP, he looks forward to the next installment.
"It excites me for the remainder of my tenure here, and our tenure here
as a company, knowing that we have partners who are just chomping at the
bit, and all we've got to do is enable their success, and that's really
where we want to be."