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Gates Says Taliban ‘Overreached’ in Pakistan Offensive

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 21, 2009

Gates Says Taliban ‘Overreached’ in Pakistan Offensive
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 – The Taliban “overreached” in their offensive in Pakistan’s Buner district, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today in Kabul.

The secretary met with leaders and troops in Afghanistan, and then held a news conference.

“We are entering a critical period with the deployment of significantly more American forces, as well as the upcoming Afghan presidential election,” Gates said. Afghan reporters asked Gates what the Taliban actions in neighboring Pakistan portended for Afghanistan.

“I think that the Taliban in Pakistan overreached with their offensive in Buner district, coming within dozens of kilometers of Islamabad,” Gates said. “It served as an alarm for the Pakistani government that these violent extremists in the western part of Pakistan are a significant danger to the government of Pakistan.”

Gates said Pakistan has taken significant military action against the Taliban in Buner over the past week, as the Pakistani government and people realize an agreement between the government and the Taliban in the Swat Valley has failed, Gates said.

“I personally have been very satisfied with the strong response that the Pakistani government and army have taken in response to this,” the secretary said. “I think there is very little chance of the Taliban in Pakistan achieving a level of success that will give them access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.” Gates said the reaction of the Pakistani army shows recognition of the danger that exists in the western part of the country.

American troops will not enter Pakistan from Afghanistan to challenge the Taliban, Gates said.

“Our goal is to work with Pakistan army and Pakistani government as they deal with this problem, and we are doing all that we can to help them,” he said.

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Special Ops Commander Supports Strategy’s Focus on al-Qaida

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 1, 2009

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2009 – The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is becoming “increasingly dire,” but President Barack Obama’s strategy for dealing with the threat in the region is the right one, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said here today.

Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy review.

Special Operations Command participated in the strategic review, and the admiral said he is pleased that the strategy “includes a clear focus on al-Qaida as the enemy, and that a whole-of-government approach is directed.”

How special operations forces operate will not change much as a result of a revised overall strategy, Olson said.

“Our units have been conducting both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency for several years,” he told the Senate panel. “We will continue to provide our broad capabilities to our fullest capacity in order to meet the needs of our elected and appointed civilian leaders and our military operational commanders.”

Al-Qaida has suffered losses from operations in the region, but remains a threat, Olson said. “Al-Qaida’s surviving leaders have proven adept at hiding, communicating and inspiring,” he said. “Operating in and from remote sites in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaida remains a draw for local and foreign fighters who subscribe to its extremist ideology and criminality.”

The Taliban also are an increasing threat in the region, not only because they shield al-Qaida, but also because they intimidate the local population, the admiral said.

“Operating in the guise of both nationalists and keepers of the faith, but behaving in the manner of street gangs and mafias, they have forced and intimidated a mostly benign populace to bend to their will,” he said. “Their methods run the relatively narrow range from malicious to evil.”

The campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan will take time, but it is time well worth taking, Olson said.

“We, as a nation and international community, must be prepared for an extended campaign – a campaign that must go well beyond traditional military activities,” he said. “Increasing the presence and capacity of civilian agencies and international organizations, to include sufficient funding and training, is essential to help develop and implement the basic functions of credible government in Afghanistan, and to assist Pakistan’s efforts to dismantle safe havens and displace extremists in its border provinces.”

Military, law enforcement, border security and intelligence training is also important in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as “it is ultimately they who must succeed in their lands,” Olson said.

Special operations forces were the catalyst behind driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001, operating alongside members of the Northern Alliance in the months after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Today, special operations forces missions range from high-tech man-hunting to providing veterinary services for tribal livestock, the admiral said.

“The direct-action missions are urgent and necessary, as they provide the time and space needed for the more indirect counterinsurgency operations to have their decisive effects,” he said. “Undertaken in proper balance, these actions address immediate security threats while also engaging the underlying instability in the region.”

In Pakistan, U.S. forces work to train the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps in counterinsurgency operations, and are prepared to do more, he said. “While we share much with them, our forces are in turn learning much about our common adversaries and the social complexities of the region,” Olson said.

Special operators are going after al-Qaida aggressively in Afghanistan, but the fundamental mission for most special operators is the enduring partnership with Afghan counterparts, the admiral said. U.S. Army Special Forces teams have trained Afghan commandos in the classrooms and on the firing ranges, and then moved with them to their assigned regions across the country.

“Living remotely with them on small camps, continuing the training and mentoring, and integrating with them on day and night combat operations has had great effect,” Olson said.

Supporting Afghans’ local development and assistance efforts has had perhaps even a more powerful impact, he said. The program has expanded to formally partner U.S. special operations forces with noncommando Afghan battalions. Olson said the program will consume most of the additional special operations forces that will deploy as part of the upcoming 21,000-strong troop increase.

More than 10,000 members of U.S. special operation forces are in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Olson said. “About 2,000 others are in 65 countries on an average day,” he added. “Their activities, fully approved and coordinated, cover the broad spectrum of traditional military activities – well beyond the stereotypical one-dimensional gunslinger to encompass the three-dimensional warrior, equally adept at defense, development and diplomacy. Special operations forces bring soft power with a hard edge.”

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Petraeus On The War On Terror

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 30, 2009

Petraeus explains the war on terror to FOX News.
clipped from blogs.usatoday.com
Afghanistan 
“It’s not just the additional numbers; it’s how those numbers are employed.”
“It’s hugely important that we be seen as good neighbors, as friends, certainly fierce warriors who will go after the enemy and stay after them.”
Pakistan 
“I think we are building that kind of trust… It’s hugely important that trust be built.”
“This has to be a comprehensive effort.  It can’t just be a military effort.”
Iraq
“The approach that we have there is prudent, it’s pragmatic.  It is designed to reduce our forces over time, as Iraqi forces take over the security tasks.”
“We think the prospects for that continuing to work successfully are reasonable and good.”
“Having said that, innumerable challenges still face the new Iraq.”
  blog it

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Martial Law, Troops Take to the Streets, Citizens Terrorized, Night Demolition, Helicopter Landing

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 30, 2009

U.S. Northern Command Assists With North Dakota Flooding
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2009 – U.S. Northern Command continues to coordinate additional and ongoing Department of Defense support to Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local authorities in North Dakota and Minnesota supporting disaster operations in response to flooding in North Dakota.

Northcom officials mobilized defense coordinating officers and defense coordinating elements to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Bismarck, N.D., serving FEMA regions 5 and 8. The DCO acts as the liaison between FEMA and Northcom, relaying capabilities available to FEMA and coordinating movement of active-duty personnel and equipment to assist should the need arise. The DCE acts as administrative support to the DCO.

Northcom officials also deployed five CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., for a variety of missions in support of FEMA. Potential missions include search and rescue, supply transportation, and movement of evacuees or other response personnel.

The command also deployed three search-and-rescue planners from its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and two more from Air Forces Northern at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to assist in SAR planning at the Joint Personnel Recovery Center at Tyndall. The three planners from Northcom’s Standing Joint Force Headquarters North division will assist in the efforts being conducted at the JRPC, which focuses specifically on large-scale search-and-rescue operations in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster.

When a disaster occurs, the JPRC activates and coordinates the SAR actions of all rescue aircraft in the disaster area to improve the efficiency of rescue operations and reduce the potential for accidents.

In coordination with Air Forces Northern, Northcom also is sending an aviation planner to the North Dakota Emergency Operations Center to prepare for potential SAR missions in the affected areas.

FEMA requested, and Northcom is supporting, use of Grand Forks Air Force Base as a national logistics staging area. The NLSA will consist of five to 10 acres of space, including 1,000 square feet of office space, necessary to support forward distribution of supplies and equipment to affected areas in North Dakota. The airfield at the base also is being used to forward stage active-duty helicopters.

In addition, Northcom officials mobilized a defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element to FEMA Region 8’s Regional Response Coordination Center in Bismarck, N.DU.S. Northern Command, established in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.

(From a U.S. Northern Command news release.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Soldiers, Afghan Police Work Together Outside Bagram Airfield

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 30, 2009

By Army Capt. Michael Greenberger
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 30, 2009 – The rising sun brought a flurry of activity in the motor pool of the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, Special Troops Battalion on March 19 as the soldiers prepared to run a “reverse option” – a joint checkpoint with Afghan National Police outside Bagram’s entry control points.

Army Spc. Steven Rogers

Army Spc. Steven Rogers stands atop his armored security vehicle while conducting checkpoint operations outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

Just two weeks prior, a suicide bomber attacked one of the base’s entry control points, but was thwarted by local Afghan peacekeepers.

Everywhere in the 2nd Platoon motor pool, Alpha Company soldiers moved with a purpose, loading equipment, weapons and water into their up-armored Humvees. After radio checks were complete, the soldiers mounted up and rolled out to the entry control points.

The road outside the southern edge of Bagram Airfield is a stretch of muddy potholes, rocks and debris. With skill, precision and watchful eyes, the soldiers navigated their immense vehicles over the uneven terrain, constantly beeping their horns at civilian traffic to alert them to their presence.

From left, Jalaludin, a captain with the Afghan National Police, briefs Ali, an interpreter, and Army 1st Lt. Jeremy Button at a checkpoint outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

From left, Jalaludin, a captain with the Afghan National Police, briefs Ali, an interpreter, and Army 1st Lt. Jeremy Button at a checkpoint outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

“Our main goal is to keep everyone and the vehicles safe,” said Army Sgt. Roberto Castillo, an Iraq veteran now serving in Afghanistan. “We do a lot to avoid civilians and their vehicles on the road, because we have to share it and want to maintain a better relationship with the [local people].”

Army Spc. Steven Rogers mans the turret of his armored security vehicle while conducting checkpoint operations outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

Army Spc. Steven Rogers mans the turret of his armored security vehicle while conducting checkpoint operations outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

Gunners constantly scanned the terrain for threats while the vehicle bounced around the muddy mess.

“We are always aware of our surroundings,” said Army Spc. Todd Haskel said. “When I first got here, I was constantly scanning – constantly on edge. Now it is like second nature to me.”

After a short but challenging trip, the soldiers rolled on to the checkpoints in force. They moved swiftly to cover the avenues of approach, laying down concertina wire and orange cones to block the roads while patrol leader Army 1st Lt. Jeremy Button contacted the Afghan National Police already on the ground.

“We are very happy with these guys,” said Jalaludin, a captain with the ANP. “We have worked with them often, and we work well together. The Army soldiers are happy with us, because they know when they call us for a joint mission, we will be here.”

The town outside Bagram is a bustling hub of two-story buildings, shops and shanties –– people are everywhere. The Afghans watch the soldiers intently as they go about their tasks, yet keep their distance.

“We set up these blocking positions as an antiterrorism measure,” Button said. “It’s a nice show of force for any bad guys who might be in the area.”

The soldiers kept an eye out for anyone or anything that looked suspicious.

“If we see a suspicious vehicle, the Afghan police stop and search the vehicle and question the occupants,” Button said. “We mainly serve in a support roll to back them up.”

“We’ve been doing missions like these for 13 months,” said Army Spc. Randall Preston said. “We set up these positions, and the Afghan people immediately adjust. They stay out of the way and try to help.”

The Afghan National Police are familiar with the people who congregate around the entry control point, and they quickly recognize strangers.

“Before the Americans came, there were a lot of bad people here,” Jalaludin said. “These are good people here now though, and they are tired of all the fighting. They just want security and peace, and are glad the Americans are here to help.”

“These ANP are really solid,” Button said. “They do what you ask them to do, and they show up and do a good job.”

From left, Army Spc. Randall Preston and Army Spc. Jeremy Richards place concertina wire and orange cones to block the road during checkpoint operations outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

From left, Army Spc. Randall Preston and Army Spc. Jeremy Richards place concertina wire and orange cones to block the road during checkpoint operations outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 18, 2009.

Missions employing random antiterrorism measures and procedures are an important part of security operations in Afghanistan.

“It’s important to do random patrols to disrupt enemy forces,” said Army Capt. William Coulter, Alpha Company commander, “as well as not set a predictable schedule or pattern of patrolling.”

After an hour or so, the ANP commander gave the call to collapse the blocking positions, so the U.S. soldiers secured their equipment, said their goodbyes, and headed for home.

Unique to the 101st Airborne Division, the “Slayers” serve as a mobile reaction force, able to respond within minutes of being called.

“We have infantrymen, signal soldiers, a mechanic –– it makes us self-sufficient, adaptable and flexible,” Button said.

Along with Alpha Company’s 1st platoon, 2nd platoon’s primary mission is patrolling and the security of Bagram Airfield and Afghanistan’s Parwan and Kapisa provinces.

“These are an extraordinary group of guys,” Button said Button. “They never back down from a mission, and never got a mission they couldn’t handle.”

The Slayers have performed more than 1,000 missions since arriving in Afghanistan in March 2008.

(Army Capt. Michael Greenberger serves with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
U.S. Army photos by Capt. Michael Greenberger)

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‘Flourishing’ Democracy in Afghanistan Remains Long-term Goal

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 29, 2009

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2009 – The United States’ short-term goal for Afghanistan may have been refined, but the long-term goal has stayed the same, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I think the near-term objectives have been narrowed,” Gates said, referring to the Afghanistan-Pakistan policy review President Barack Obama unveiled March 27. “I think our long-term objectives would still be to see a flourishing democracy in Afghanistan.

“But I think what we need to focus on … is making headway and reversing the Taliban’s momentum and strengthening the Afghan army and police, and really going after al-Qaida, as the president said,” the secretary said.

When all is said and done, about 68,000 U.S. troops will be on the ground in Afghanistan to help achieve this goal. They will be supplemented with another 35,000 or so European and other partners’ troops, Gates said.

While ground commanders may have wanted more than the 17,000 troops the president has committed, the 2009 requirements Army Gen. David D. McKiernan has established have been fulfilled, Gates said. McKiernan is the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

“I don’t think I’ve ever in several decades ran into a ground commander who thought he had enough troops,” the secretary said. “[But] I have not sent any requests for units or troops to the president that he has not approved.”

While additional troops from allies or partner countries are welcome, the larger need from these entities is help with civilian experts, Gates said.

“What I think we’re really interested in for the longer term from our partners and allies is helping us with this civilian surge,” he said. “[This would be helpful] in terms of experts in agriculture and finance and governance and so on to help us improve on the situation inside Afghanistan, give a sense of forward progress on the part of the Afghan people.”

Police trainers also would be a great help, he added.

Gates said he still considers al-Qaida a serious threat with the capability to plan attacks, and has metastasized with elements in North Africa, the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. While these factions aren’t directly controlled by al-Qaida in western Pakistan, they get training, guidance and inspiration from there.

The president, he said, understands this is a tough fight and the United States is in it until it’s successful. That will be when al-Qaida is no longer a threat to the nation, Gates said, and when there is no danger of Afghanistan or the western part of Pakistan providing al-Qaida safe havens. That is what the new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy aims to accomplish.

“I think he’s been clear, and frankly, it was my view in our discussions that we don’t want to settle on this strategy and then pursue it blindly and openendedly,” Gates said. “That’s why I felt very strongly that toward the end of the year, or about a year from now, we need to re-evaluate this strategy and see if we’re making progress.”

There are concerns about reports that the Pakistani intelligence service is in contact with some extremist groups operating from the country; however, the reports are not surprising, Gates said.

“The reality is the Pakistanis have had contact with these groups since they were fighting the Soviets 20 or 25 years ago, when I was first dealing with the Pakistanis on this,” he said. “What we need to do is try and help the Pakistanis understand that these groups are now an existential threat to them, and that we will be there as a steadfast ally for Pakistan, that they can count on us.”

Gates also fielded questions on North Korea and the country’s claim that it’s prepared to launch a communications satellite in a few days. The country has moved a missile to the launch pad.

“I don’t know anyone at a senior level in the American government who does not believe this technology is intended as a mask for the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Gates said. “The reality is that the Six-Party Talks really have not made any headway anytime recently.

“If this is [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-il’s welcoming present to a new president, launching a missile like this and threatening to have a nuclear test, I think it says a lot about the imperviousness of this regime in North Korea to any kind of diplomatic overtures,” he said.

Economic sanctions may be needed in North Korea and Iran before diplomacy will work, Gates said.

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Police Arrest Taliban Commanders in Southern Afghanistan

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 25, 2009

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 25, 2009 – Afghan National Police arrested two Taliban commanders and three other militants in southern Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province March 22, military officials reported today.

Villagers in Kandahar province notified Afghan National Police on March 21 that Qari Azizullah, Taliban district commander in Khas Oruzgan, and Mullah Hamidullah, a Khas Oruzgan Taliban district sub-commander, were on their way back to Khas Oruzgan following a trip to Pakistan.

An ANP commander ordered the establishment of checkpoints and patrols along the route they were traveling and disseminated a description of the militants’ vehicle to police on the ground.

The vehicle was positively identified and stopped by ANP at a checkpoint in Oruzgan province’s capital of Tarin Kowt. As the vehicle halted, the occupants were witnessed throwing items out of the windows. The ANP recovered the documents, which were personal identification cards for Azizullah and Hamidullah. The militant leaders were arrested and taken into custody without incident.

Azizullah and Hamidullah were wanted men, known to be aggressive extortionists of money and supplies from the people of Khas Oruzgan where they have threatened and intimidated local teachers in order to keep schools closed. The militants are responsible for coordinating numerous attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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Iraq Violence Continues to Ebb as Security Improves

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 25, 2009

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 – The amount of insurgent- and crime-related violence in Iraq continues to drop as security improves, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters at a Baghdad news conference today.

“Some significant improvement has taken place across the board” with regard to security operations and levels of violence in Iraq, said Army Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, director for strategic effects at Multinational Force Iraq.

For example, insurgent-committed attacks in Iraq have decreased to their lowest level since August 2003, Perkins said, noting that represents a more than 90-percent decrease since June 2007.

Last year, Perkins said, Iraq averaged about 130 attacks per day. Now officials are seeing about 10 attacks per day, he said.

At the height of Iraq violence a few years ago, Perkins said, there were about 1,250 attacks weekly. Now, often there are fewer than a hundred attacks recorded each week in Iraq.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve had no ethno-sectarian attacks reported in Iraq,” Perkins said. Those types of attacks, he said, are often the most deadly and tend to lead to spiraling, out-of-control violence.

“So, it is very good news that the ethno-sectarian violence is at such a low level,” Perkins said.

Iraqi security force and civilian deaths have drastically declined, Perkins said, while U.S. combat deaths in Iraq have decreased by more than 90 percent over the past two years or so, the lowest level since the war began six years ago.

Perkins noted that 148 U.S. military members were killed in Iraq between January and February 2007.

“However, if you look at January to February of this year, 2009, there were 19 U.S. military killed” in Iraq, Perkins said.

High-profile insurgent attacks, like bombings in urban areas, have declined 67 percent across Iraq since this time last year, Perkins said. And, he said, the time between those attacks has increased.

Last year at this time, Perkins said, high-profile attacks occurred about every 1.9 days. Today, he said, such attacks occur about every 3.8 days.

“It shows the enemy is unable to maintain a high rate of attacks,” Perkins explained. “They don’t have the resources available; they don’t have the personnel available to do that.”

Meanwhile, Perkins said, U.S., coalition and Iraqi security operations continue to make inroads against insurgent and criminal operations.

The success enjoyed by security forces in Iraq is related to their ability “to get at the terrorist networks that facilitate the high-profile attacks,” Perkins said. For example, he said, several key al-Qaida in Iraq leaders have been killed over the past year or so.

Al-Qaida in Iraq Internet propaganda postings that seek recruits and money have greatly declined, Perkins said, as its senior leaders have been eliminated and its operations decrease.

Perkins also noted the elimination of several al-Qaida agents who worked to move terrorists in and out of Iraq.

“The result of these efforts has been a significant decrease in the number of foreign terrorists that come in and out of Iraq,” Perkins said, noting reports that many terrorists in Iraq are seeking to flee the country.

Additionally, U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces have captured 82 special-groups criminals and terrorists over the past year and shut down their Baghdad-based headquarters, Perkins said.

U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces have teamed up to significantly downgrade al-Qaida’s leadership, foreign-terrorist operations, terrorist media networks and special groups’ activities, Perkins said.

“We see these trends continuing,” Perkins said, as U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces continue their strategic partnership.

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Troops Slow Down Taliban Movement With Traffic Control Points

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 24, 2009

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 24, 2009 – U.S. and Afghan forces conducted a three-day traffic control point operation to restrict Taliban movement and to reduce the number of bombs placed in southern Afghanistan.

A U.S. soldier watches over the entrance to a joint U.S. and Afghan National Police traffic control point in southern Afghanistan, March 11, 2009. The soldiers and police searched more than 60 vehicles over three days during the operation.

A U.S. soldier watches over the entrance to a joint U.S. and Afghan National Police traffic control point in southern Afghanistan, March 11, 2009. The soldiers and police searched more than 60 vehicles over three days during the operation.

During the TCP operation earlier this month, U.S. soldiers and Afghan National Police searched more than 60 cars traveling through the area.

“We are trying to slow down Taliban movement of weapons and people,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Quintanilla, a platoon sergeant from Agat, Guam, said. “We are hoping to cripple their supply routes.”

The TCP was set up in a location where soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team had visibility several kilometers to the south to prevent improvised explosive device emplacement in an area known for the homemade bombs.

“There were no reports of IEDs in the three days we were out there,” Quintanilla said.

Though this TCP was set up in a specific, pre-planned area coordinated with the Afghan police, this is not always the case. U.S. soldiers often set up “snap” TCPs when they see a vehicle or person of interest based on intelligence they’ve received. A snap TCP is set up to allow units to respond quickly to possible enemy vehicles.

Army Staff Sgt. Cory Bunch checks the identification of an Afghan citizen at a traffic control point in southern Afghanistan, March 11, 2009. Afghan National Police and U.S. soldiers conducted several TCPs to disrupt Taliban movement.

Army Staff Sgt. Cory Bunch checks the identification of an Afghan citizen at a traffic control point in southern Afghanistan, March 11, 2009. Afghan National Police and U.S. soldiers conducted several TCPs to disrupt Taliban movement.

“This is such a vast, open area. If [militants] see us, they find a way around,” Quintanilla said. “That’s why we do snap TCPs.”

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment perform about a dozen snap TCP missions a month.

“If we change it up, keep it random, it keeps [militants] on their toes,” Army Spc. Kris Gould, infantryman from Saginaw, Mich., said. “It gets them scared.”

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie serves with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)
U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie

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Coalition, Afghan Forces Kill Six, Detain 14 in Afghanistan Operations

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 23, 2009

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2009 – Coalition and Afghan forces have killed six enemy fighters and detained 14 others in operations in Afghanistan in recent days, military officials reported.

This morning, combined forces detained three suspects during an operation to disrupt a bomb-making network in eastern Afghanistan.

In the Sabari district of Khowst province, about 70 miles southeast of Kabul, Afghan and coalition forces searched a compound where the three suspects were detained without incident.

One rifle, two chest racks and ammunition were found and removed from the compound. Six women and 10 children were protected and there was no collateral damage to the property.

In other operations:

— Yesterday, Afghan and coalition forces killed five militants and detained four others in northern Afghanistan’s Kondoz province during an operation targeting a terrorist network there.

In coordination with local Afghan police, the combined forces conducted an assault of a compound near the Tajikistan border. During the initial assault, forces encountered enemy combatants in the courtyard, and killed one and detained another. When they called out for non-combatants to exit the buildings, they were engaged with small arms fire. Forces returned fire and cleared the buildings, resulting in four militants killed and three detained.

Forces found multiple AK-47 assault rifles and chest racks on the compound and removed them.

No women or children were present in the targeted attacks.

— On March 21, Afghan and coalition forces killed an insurgent and captured four others in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia province in an operation to disrupt terrorist networks operating near the Pakistan border.

The combined force approached a compound in the Dzadran district, about 80 miles south of Kabul, to capture a leader in a foreign fighter network that supplies the Islamic Jihad Union and Haqqani terrorist groups. As the force patrolled the compound, a suspected insurgent was seen fleeing on foot and the force pursued him. He maneuvered to higher ground, gaining a tactical advantage, and the assault force engaged him with small arms fire, killing him.

During a subsequent search of the compound, forces detained four suspects without further incident. Forces then conducted a search of a nearby compound without incident.

Eighteen women and 29 children were protected.

— On March 20, Afghan National Police, minimally assisted by coalition forces, conducted an early morning search of a compound suspected of housing insurgents in eastern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province.

ANP conducted the search after receiving information from local villagers that the compound belonged to a man suspected of conducting insurgent activities in the area. Three suspects were detained and taken into custody during the search.

The ANP encountered no resistance and no shots were fired. All women and children present were safeguarded.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases).

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