KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security Forces, with support from International Security Assistance Force members, began operations Oct. 15 in the Pech River Valley aimed at denying safe havens for insurgents and bolstering the Government Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's influence in local villages.

General Ziayee, the Konar chief of police, told ISAF that he fully supports these operations in the district.

The operations, which involve the insertion of combat forces by helicopter, were initiated after repeated attempts by ISAF to get insurgents to stop attacking the local populace. Tribal and local Afghan leaders led those attempts, but were ineffective in convincing the insurgents to reintegrate with GIRoA.

A key turning point occurred Oct. 13, when a number of insurgents, reportedly from Matin Village, just north of the Shuryak Valley in the central Pech River Valley, purposefully damaged the road in neighboring Tarale Village. Tarale Village elders asked the insurgents from Matin Village to stop, but their requests had no effect. Local Afghans from Tarale then attempted to forcefully remove the insurgents from their village. The insurgents fired into Tarale Village and escaped back to Matin. No injuries were reported, and Afghan Security Forces responded, but could not track down the perpetrators.

A local Afghan truck driver was shot and wounded by insurgents Oct. 14 while driving on the road between Asadabad and Nangalam near Tarale Village. The truck driver was transported by ANSF to a local coalition base where he was medically treated and evacuated to Asadabad. This was the second incident of a local truck driver being shot by insurgents in the last two weeks. The first driver was killed in the attack.

"[ANSF] have said that they will pursue the insurgents until they can be assured that the security situation in the Pech Valley improves," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joe Ryan, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment commander. "They have brought the fight to areas where they believe the enemy now feels the safest, but will not feel safe there any longer."

Operations in the area are ongoing.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16