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Afghan forces receive improved protection

 

Written by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte
300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division PatchKunar Province, Afghanistan – One might say U.S. Army Sgt 1st Class Timothy N. Easton is in the home improvement business for eastern Afghanistan.

Easton, who is from Buffalo, NY, uses his 12 years of experience as a combat engineer to assess and recommend ways to increase protective measures for Afghan National Security Forces throughout the area covered by Task Force Bastogne.

Afghan Soldiers and police officers often live at the bases, observation posts and checkpoints he visits. Making these locations more secure is essential to helping the Afghan forces do their jobs, he noted.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy N. Easton, Task Force Bastogne, puts up his notes after examining the defenses of Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Aug. 23rd. Easton’s job involves examining Afghan bases, observation posts and checkpoints to find ways International Security Assistance Forces can help improve their protection. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy N. Easton, Task Force Bastogne, puts up his notes after examining the defenses of Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Aug. 23rd. Easton’s job involves examining Afghan bases, observation posts and checkpoints to find ways International Security Assistance Forces can help improve their protection. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

“If they feel protected and safe, the more likely they are to stay and fight,” Easton said.

These improvements can range from additional sandbags to ready-made concrete bunkers. Easton, who is with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force Bastogne, examines about a dozen to 15 sites during a given week.

In one recent case, Easton arranged for the addition of concrete vehicle barriers for an Afghan checkpoint so security forces would have a protected area to examine vehicles for improvised explosive devices. The new additions are usually sent to the posts within weeks of his evaluations.

“I work on getting them as much protection as I can,” he said.

Afghan Soldiers with the 6th Kandak survey the territory around Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan Aug. 23rd. International Security Assistance Forces with Task Force Bastogne are constantly working on ways to help improve the defenses of Afghan bases, observation posts and checkpoints. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Afghan Soldiers with the 6th Kandak survey the territory around Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan Aug. 23rd. International Security Assistance Forces with Task Force Bastogne are constantly working on ways to help improve the defenses of Afghan bases, observation posts and checkpoints. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

1st Lt. Peter K. Burkhart of Acworth, GA, who is the Afghan National Security Forces liaison for 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force No Slack, said International Security Assistance Forces help is needed to improve the positions.

“It’s really important because their support system isn’t as efficient as ours,” Burkhart said. “They can keep up the protection we’re giving them so they can keep up the fight.”

During a recent visit to Task Force No Slack in Kunar Province, Easton said he treats Afghan bases with as much care and dedication as he would provide for U.S. Soldiers.

“It gives me a better vision of what kind of upgrades need to be done,” he said.


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