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101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team helps Afghan National Security Forces one step closer

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionRakkasanPaktya Province, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces demonstrated their ever-increasing ability to conduct independent counter insurgent operations in Chamkani district near the Pakistan border October 23rd, 2012.

Members of the Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Police and Afghan Local Police successfully coordinated and executed a security mission, while soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), augmented security and intelligence support.

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Elijah Bales, a Knoxville, TN, native and platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks through an interpreter to a group Afghan Uniformed Police while conducting a presence patrol led by AUP and Afghan Border Police in a village near Chamkani, Oct. 23, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, TF 3-101 Public Affairs)

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Elijah Bales, a Knoxville, TN, native and platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks through an interpreter to a group Afghan Uniformed Police while conducting a presence patrol led by AUP and Afghan Border Police in a village near Chamkani, Oct. 23, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, TF 3-101 Public Affairs)

In eastern Paktya, the hard work and dedication of these Afghan units is being noticed by their coalition force counterparts.

“(They) did a great job today,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Elijah Bales, a Knoxville, Tennessee, native and platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. “The AUP, ABP and ALP have trained hard and it shows. It’s really hard to coordinate four agencies to come together and successfully accomplish a mission, but today (they) did a great job of it.”

“The Afghans take pride in providing their own security here,” Bales continued. “As soon as we called and informed them of the mission … they were ready to go.”

The mission called for the AUP, ABP and ALP to maintain a secure perimeter as they cordoned off one village and moved up into another, Throughout, they questioned villagers about potential insurgent activities.

U.S. Army Capt. Gerald Wynn, a native of Neptune, N.J., commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducts a security overwatch while Afghan Uniformed Police and Afghan Border Police question villagers concerning insurgent activity near Chamkani, Oct. 23, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt 1st Class Abram Pinnington, TF 3-101 Public Affairs)A difficult mission given the dynamics of four separate organizations.

“A potential problem with having that many different elements out there together is communication,” said Bales. “One element does one thing as another does something else. But, they stuck together and executed the mission just as it was planned.”

Witnessing the ANSF’s success first hand were the Afghan locals of the village.

Afghan National Security Forces moved from home to home giving orders over radios, pointing out needed movements and holding firm to their security positions.

While operations within the villages concluded, a key leader engagement with the village elders began.

Leaders and soldiers from all the forces were invited inside the village elder’s home for traditional tea, bread and candy while discussion of the village’s outlook commenced.

“You’re welcome here,” said the elder. “With (your) help, the Afghan Security Forces allows for a bright future for our country.”

The elder, a former mujahideen who fought against the Russians in the 1980s, understands the negative costs of the the insurgency.

“The insurgents bring nothing but death and darkness to our country,” said the elder. “They’re not welcome here.”

“We want peace,” said the elder. “We want a safe and prosperous Afghanistan.”

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Elijah Bales, a Knoxville, TN, native and platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speaks through an interpreter to an Afghan Uniformed Police chief during a presence patrol led by AUP and Afghan Border Patrol in a village near Chamkani, Oct. 23, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington, TF 3-101 Public Affairs)The KLE concluded with smiles, traditional Afghan handshakes and a mutual agreement. Everyone here wants a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan; and many are working hard to obtain it.

Bales shared his confidence the ANSF are one step closer to that goal.

“The AUP and ABP have trained with other departmental agencies and coalition forces here for several years now,” Bales said of the local security forces past experience. “They’re a good group, ready for anything and always up for a challenge; some of the best I have seen here in Afghanistan.”


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