Written by U.S. Army Pfc. Chris McKenna, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Paktika Province, Afghanistan – A blockade on the Marjaneh bazaar that threatened to starve Waza Khawa residents into supporting the insurgency recently ended thanks to Soldiers from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment and Afghan Uniformed Police in the area.
The blockade began in early June, with insurgents using a combination of improvised explosive devices, indirect fire and small arms in an effort to keep food shipments and coalition forces away from the area, said 3-187 spokesman U.S. Army 1st Lt. R.J. Peek, from Fort Campbell, KY.
In response, coalition forces began construction on a checkpoint June 9th.
During the construction process, U.S. Soldiers, AUP and members of the Afghan National Army provided security. The checkpoint was completed June 28th.
During the first two weeks, security forces engaged in several firefights with insurgents attempting to attack and destroy the checkpoint with rockets, mortars, recoilless rifles, IEDs, rocket propelled grenades, and AK-47s, said U.S. Army Capt. Scott Harris, C Co., 3-187, executive officer, from Fayetteville, NC.
Each attack by the insurgents had the same result with combined forces maneuvering on the attackers and forcing them to flee, leaving behind their weapons and equipment, Harris said.
With the addition of Afghan security forces, the insurgents’ efforts to blockade the bazaar were thwarted. Convoys now roll into Waza Khawa unscathed, and the shop owners are able to restock their shelves and resume business, said Peek.
The events culminated with Waza Khawa Sub-Governor Mohamed Ramazan holding a shura in Marjaneh June 28th to discuss the opening of the checkpoint and the overall security situation in the district.
As ANA and AUP provided security, Ramazan gathered the people of the bazaar to discuss the future of Marjaneh, stressing the importance of education and supporting the government.
“The security shura demonstrated the ability of ANSF to secure a government venue for the sub-governor to address the people,” said Harris. “The Marjaneh AUP checkpoint has provided a significant degree of security to the area and will allow Sub-Governor Ramazan to better help the people of the area.”