By Sgt. Cooper T. CashApril 15, 2011
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 15, 2011) - Soldiers of Task Force Warrior made final preparations to transition Combat Outpost Tangi to Afghan National Security Forces April 8.
Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, commander of TF Warrior, toured the outpost with Sayed Abad District Afghan National Police Chief Abdul Ghafoor Aziz and discussed details of the transition, as 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division completed final tasks.
The eventual reduction of U.S. forces and the vast area of Afghanistan within his unit's area of operations have led Rickard to realign his Soldiers to reach the most Afghan people.
"As we lose U.S. personnel, we have to concentrate on the greater populations," said Rickard.
Although U.S. troops will no longer run the outpost, there will still be a coalition presence.
"U.S. forces will still patrol the area," said Rickard. "We are going to continue to hunt insurgents in Tangi and prevent them from having a safe haven."
Leading up to the transfer, ANSF and U.S. forces secured the route to COP Tangi during Operation Tangi Smash. TF Warrior Soldiers patrolled the route, and ANSF manned checkpoints and searched homes.
"As a result of Operation Tangi Smash, the ANP shut down a HME (homemade explosives) lab and seized nearly 24 kilograms of marijuana," said Rickard.
"The Afghan National Police have already demonstrated their resolve by placing permanent check points at each end of the valley."
Because TF Warrior will still be active in the valley, the ANSF can work on familiarizing themselves with the community.
"It will be beneficial to have coalition support while ANSF patrols and builds relationships," said Ghafoor.
As the ANSF become more independent and effective, U.S. Soldiers will transition areas to them and move to areas that coalition forces have frequented less.
Once Soldiers have handed COP Tangi over to ANSF, TF Warrior will push northwest.
"The MOD (Ministry of Defense) and the ANA (Afghan National Army) made the decision to move forces into Chak," said Rickard.
Chak is an area of Wardak Province that has a much larger population than Tangi, and securing it could provide improvements to Wardak's residents.
"The dam in Chak is important," said Rickard. "Engineers tell me it can produce significant amounts of electricity for the area after a couple of the turbines are repaired."
The ANSF soon will run COP Tangi, and TF Warrior will ramp up operations in Chak. If this trend continues, within a few years, local residents in Chak will look solely toward other Afghans for security and guidance.