Afghan General commends border police for repelling Taliban attack
Mosa Watondost was eating a late Ramadan dinner with fellow Afghan Border Policemen, when rocket and small-arms fire erupted around 1 a.m., July 28, 2012.
An ingrained reaction from years of training and fighting experience immediately followed. He picked up a weapon and took a position with nearly 20 other Afghan Border Police from the 6th Kandak Battalion, to repel a Taliban attack at the Niamatabad checkpoint in the Paktika Province.
An estimated 300 Taliban militants took control of three observation points and managed to crawl within 100 meters of an outer security wall. After nearly eight hours of fighting, determined ABP Soldiers assisted by coalition helicopter air support repelled the attack, leaving nearly 40 Taliban dead.
“They did their job like champions,” said Afghan Brig. Gen. Abdul Hai Atrafi, ABP Commander, 2nd Zone, who was on site Aug. 2, at Niamatabad, to praise the border police for their action against the Taliban. “The reason I came here is to give my personal encouragement and to boost morale.”
“This is one of the hardest regions to support,” said U.S. Army Maj. Shawn Chilton, Assistant Team Leader of the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Security Force Assistance Advisory Team to the 6th ABP Kandak Battalion.
The remotely located Niamatabad checkpoint is a first line of defence to fuel points near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border and is heavily dependent on air support for supplies and personnel.
“The proximity to the [Pakistan] border is very appetizing to the Taliban,” Chilton said.
Atrafi highlighted the personal strength of the ABP, especially during Ramadan.
“I appreciate what a great job they did that night,” he said. “In fasting, they cannot stand like that. Because of their morale they got the power to keep up.”
Constant training, previous fighting experience and plentiful supplies were contributing factors in the ABP victory.
“We had lots of ammunition and that helped,” said Watandost, who served with the ABP and previously fought in Gomal District. “The good thing is next time we’ll be more prepared.”
Atrafi acknowledged help from outside.
“Many thanks to coalition forces,” Atrafi said to his U.S. counterparts visiting Niamatabad.
“They helped us a lot with air support.”
While Atrafi made his rounds talking to the individual policemen, others piled into pickup trucks to make a quick run outside the security barriers, gathering more evidence left behind by the Taliban after the attack.
6th ABP Kandak commander, Afghan Major Sadar Muhammad, had words of warning for those plotting future attacks.
“If you do that again, you will leave your bodies like that [dead],” he proclaimed. “You will lose everybody.”
Atrafi reiterated the importance of taking control of their country before coalition forces leave.
“We want to bring peace and security to these people [in the Paktika Province],” he said. “We want to set up conditions for the government to start up reconstruction projects here.”
Article by Sgt. Aaron Ricca, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment