American Forces Press Service
Feb. 11, 2008 - Soldiers from the Afghan National Army's 201st Kandak, assisted by coalition forces, visited elders in the village of Tangay, in the Tarin Kowt district of Afghanistan's Oruzgan province Feb. 7. The soldiers conducted a security patrol through the Tiri Rud River Valley when they stopped to meet with the village elders and determine the needs of the village residents.
Even before the soldiers entered the village, children greeted them with smiles, waves and laughter as they approached. After a few minutes of chatting with the children, Afghan National Army soldiers met with the elders, who welcomed the group into their village.
The elders were eager to talk about security in the fertile valley area near the Tangay Pass in central Afghanistan. The elders said the area is fairly secure, thanks to frequent Afghan National Police patrols, but evidence points to insurgent activity in nearby mountains.
"The security in general is the priority," said a village elder. "Afghanistan has been at war for 30 years. All we want is peace."
Villagers also pointed out that while the Afghan government has directly aided Tangay residents with food and other supplies, more help is needed.
"Getting water is a particular challenge for this area, especially during the summer months," an elder said.
The elder explained that melting snow causes the nearby Tiri Rud to flood in the spring. Months of drought throughout the summer follow the floods. Elders said the flood and drought cycle wreaks havoc on their crops.
Security and economic development are important, not only to the elders, but also to all residents in the area. Tangay Pass is home to more than 200 families and also houses the Tangay Pass boys school, with more than 300 students. Increased Afghan police and army patrols have allowed the area to rebuild after years of war and civil strife.
"Increased security is making a difference in Oruzgan," said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a coalition spokeswoman. "The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is committed to increasing security throughout the country and meeting the needs of its citizens. With ANA and ANP maintaining security, villagers feel safe and can live in relative peace."
(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)