Thursday, December 08, 2011

Afghanistan: Oklahoma National Guard, Afghan National army join forces to weaken insurgency

By Army Staff Sgt. Erik Wolf
Combined Joint Task Force 1

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – National Guard Soldiers and Afghan National army soldiers kicked off a joint mission, known as Operation Shamshir III, here Nov. 28.

The mission, incorporating the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Creek, and ANA’s 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak, was intended to deny enemy strongholds and destroy caches of weapons and ammunition.

The objectives of their mission were based on intelligence and civil affairs reporting that showed where likely places for strongholds and caches could be found. ANA and U.S. soldiers, acting on these reports, executed a large-scale search that resulted in the capture of several assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and artillery rounds, thousands of rounds of small-arms ammunition, and materials for making improvised explosive devices.

One lasting effect of the mission is that the elimination of the weapons will make it more difficult for the insurgency to restart combat operations during the upcoming fighting season, said Army National Guard 1st Lt. Joshua Starks, commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, TF Creek.

“Operation Shamshir III was a successful strike on the enemy’s ability to quickly reengage fighting after the winter,” Starks said.

Army National Guard Lt. Col. Chuck Booze, the TF Creek commander, attributed the success of the operation to the local villagers’ negative opinion of the insurgency.

“This is a classic example of the population’s distrust of the insurgency and cooperation with the ANA and coalition forces to rid the area of weapons and IED materials,” Booze said.

“At present, security is the villagers’ greatest concern in our area,” said ANA Maj. Gulam Habib, the 3rd Coy commander.

“With this successful operation,” he said, “[Afghan National Security Forces] will be able to reduce the enemy’s ability to intimidate and threaten the local population.”

No comments: