By Sgt. Mark A. Moore IIJuly 18, 2013
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 18, 2013) -- Afghan National Security Forces from throughout Paktika Province, along with U.S. Army advisers and security elements assigned to 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade at Forward Operating Base Rushmore, conducted village clearance operations last week in the Omna District.
Driven by intelligence collected by the National Directorate of Security, Afghan Uniformed Police, or AUP, and Afghan National Army, known as the ANA, soldiers exploited suspected weapons caches hidden in caves, neutralized an improvised explosive device and dominated the terrain with a show of force.
"They used intelligence to drive operations," said Capt. Maxwell Pappas, commander of C Troop, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. "The ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) demonstrated command and control over the entire valley with only minor engagements from the EOA (enemies of Afghanistan).
"They had absolute freedom of maneuver," he added. "It shows that when ANSF go some place, they own that area, and no one's going to disrupt that."
Rapidly leapfrogging through the valley of Omna, ANSF members pushed the EOA into Charbaran and then fish-hooked into Zawaka to clear the last objective.
"The ANSF executed the plan rapidly, requiring limited advisement (and) leaving coalition forces little to do but follow along to provide enabler support if required," said Maj. Michael Farmer, 1-89 Cavalry executive officer. "Then, when it was needed, they called on their own artillery."
While the mission as a show of force was successful, operations yielded only minimal cache finds and encounters with the EOA.
"They came up with mostly 'dry holes,' which is fine for this operation," said Capt. Daniel Maxfield, Blue 0 Security Force Advisory Team executive officer. "The mission in Omna was mostly to push the EOA out of the area, and that is what happened."
"This mission was successful in other ways," Maxfield added. "It's not always about kicking down doors and killing the enemy."
By demonstrating their combined strength, cooperation and communication with various elements of security in the area, ANSF proved their dedication to a safe and secure Afghanistan.
"With community policing, it's really about being the big brother to the villagers (and) finding out what their issues are," Maxfield said. "The AUP and ANA stood shoulder to shoulder and handed out clothing to villagers, and the ANA held a 'shura,' or meeting, in which the AUP were involved.
"It really shows the people of Omna that the ANSF cares about their livelihood."
Building strong relationships to combat propaganda distributed among the villagers serves an equally devastating blow to the EOA.
"The villagers listen to the enemies of Afghanistan and hear them talk about how they can scare off the ANSF or defeat the infidels," Pappas said. "But when the ANSF are on the ground, the EOA run away.
"It's good to see Afghans in the lead, working together to protect their country regardless of (the enemy they face)," he added.