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