Road through valley of the Taliban
January 6, 2011
TANGI VALLEY, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Army (ANA) and Australian forces gained control of Tangi Valley in the Deh Rahwod district, Afghanistan, in an operation to establish a foothold in a former Taliban concentrated area, Dec. 28.
ANA solders from the 4th Kandak, 4th Brigade, 205th Corps and the Australian Afghan Mentoring Task Force 2 (AMTF 2) will construct a new patrol base to maintain a continuous presence of coalition forces in the region.
"Our plan here is to build a new patrol base to expand the influence of the ANA," said Maj. David French, Australian commander, Combat Team C, Battle Group Tiger.
"We've fought a series of battles throughout this valley in the past few months," French explained. "We've done a lot of operations, all leading to this moment of seizing and holding this new ground."
A barren hill in the distance is the sight for the new base, but three miles of rough ground stands in the way of the ANA and Australian forces.
There were two paths leading to the objective. The first, was a stretch of road possibly containing improvised explosive devices. The other route was a maze-like expanse of land riddled with hiding places, walls and mud bridges.
First ground forces, composed of the ANA and AMTF 2 maneuvered their way through the village to establish a perimeter of security at the sight for the new base.
Chief Warrant Officer Trevor Lynch, team sergeant major for AMTF 2, said his team pushed three miles into the Tangi Valley villages in order to reach their objective.
The ground team weaved through the valley, crawling under low arches and trudging up rough mountainous terrain with the expectation of hostile contact that never came.
Lynch said his team prepared for a firefight, due to what they had seen in the past, but were able to reach their objective without a shot fired.
"Today they decided to be cowards," said Lynch. "[The insurgents] will be back in the spring when they have more freedom of movement."
The ground forces established security at the objective site enabling the mounted troops to clear their way along the road.
The vehicles climbed the steep hill and encircled the ground troops, providing an extra line of defense against possible attacks and ending the day's operation.
The construction of the new patrol base gives the ANA and the AMTF 2 the opportunity to establish a presence in the once Taliban-controlled valley.
"This area has been under the influence of Taliban control for three or four yeas, and very tight control at that," said French. "We think with a good development effort and bringing the leaders from Deh Rahwod out here that [the villagers] will come around and support the ANA."