Afghan forces take the lead in the fight
July 19, 2012
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ZHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan (Army News Service, July 19, 2012) -- In an effort to further step up and gain control of Afghanistan's safety, Afghan National Security Forces took the lead along with International Security Assistance Forces during Operation Kalak Hode IV, from July 3-17.
Their mission was to clear insurgent safe havens and increase security and stability for the people in the Zharay and Maiwand districts.
The operation took place after the responsibility of security for Kandahar province, which includes the Zharay and Maiwand districts, transitioned from International Security Assistance Forces, known as ISAF, to Afghan National Security Forces,or ANSF, July 1. The Afghan National Army's 205th Infantry Corps leads the ANSF in the area and are partnered with the 82nd Airborne Division.
The 3rd Brigade, 205th Infantry Corps leads Unified Command Team Zharay-Maiwand, a partnered force consisting of the ANA, Afghan National Police, Afghan Local Police, Civil Order Police and 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. The forces found and removed a large quantity of enemy munitions, including 160 improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs, 140 of which were pressure-plate IEDs.
Coalition forces recovered 1,427 pounds of homemade explosives throughout the operation. Also removed were one 155 mm rocket, 29 mortar rounds, 18 recoilless rifle rounds, two rocket-propelled grenades and 345 heavy machine gun rounds.
ANSF and ISAF built several new combat operation posts throughout the districts to project power and influence, thereby increasing security for the Soldiers and villagers.
"Our increased security allows us to see where the enemy is coming from and help prevent IED placement threats," said Sgt. James Matychowiak, a squad designated marksman in 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company.
Many of these combat outposts, or COPs, are permanent establishments that the ANSF will use as central locations to recruit and train their future comrades.
"The people defending this area should be the ones that live here," said 1st Lt. Samuel C. Herbert, the platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. "The local people know who the enemy is and what's out of the ordinary."
The partnership between ANSF and ISAF fosters improvements across the districts and is making way for a smooth transition once coalition forces leave Afghanistan.
"We will continue to coach our Afghan counterparts so that they can continue to succeed after we leave," Herbert said.
Coalition leaders said Kalak Hode IV is an example of what Unified Command Team Zharay-Maiwand can accomplish when the ANSF and U.S. partners work together toward a common goal.
"There was help, whatever the mission," said Sgt. Jeremiah Hampton, a sniper team leader with Scout Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. "Soldiers knew things needed to be done, so they pulled together to accomplish the task and bring everyone back safe."