More than 75 members of the Afghan Border Police executed the two-day clearance operation dubbed Southern Fist throughout the Shin Naray and Karr passes in the Spin Boldak district, Sept. 29-30.
The primary goals of Southern Fist were to disrupt enemy activity in the area and to connect the local villagers with the Afghan government. The Afghan-led operation was planned by leaders of the 3rd Zone Afghan Border Police, or ABP, and executed by the unit's battalion-sized 3rd Kandak.
"The ABP were fully independent with advisers, from the selection of where the mission would take place, to the scheme of maneuver, and finally exercising mission command of the operation," said Capt. Tom Angstadt, commander of the Security Force Assistance Team that advises the 3rd Kandak. "ISAF provided enablers who were not organic to the ABP to further enable and embolden the ABP."
The enablers included route clearance personnel provided by the 569th Engineer Company and the 787th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company. The U.S. convoy cleared roadways of improvised explosive device threats, allowing the Afghan forces freedom of movement.
"The ABP recognized they had gained freedom of maneuver into Karr Pass and quickly flexed their reserve platoon from the town of Sherobeh to conduct a dismounted clearance from the Shin Naray Pass over a 7,000-foot ridge line and then clear down the Karr Pass back to the Shin Naray Pass," Angstadt said.
During the clearance, the 3rd Kandak searched and cleared several villages in the areas looking for contraband. While investigating a known Taliban commander's compound, the ABP forces engaged in a firefight with insurgents.
"They moved dismounted over 15 kilometers and an elevation gain of 2,000 feet," Angstadt said. "During this clearance, they were able to successfully engage the enemy and remove them from the battlefield."
During the fight, a number of insurgents were killed and wounded. The ABP also detained several suspects who were transferred to a nearby detention facility.
On the second day, Maj. Asmatulla Safi, operations officer with the 3rd Zone ABP, organized and led a multi-village shura in Obezhan Kalay. The meeting brought more than 30 male villagers to the central location to receive a uniformed message from the Afghan government regarding security.
Simultaneously, Afghan Uniformed Police Capt. Noora Hyatt, the only female police officer in Spin Boldak, led a shura with more than 20 Afghan females from the local area. Female U.S. Soldiers from Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak also attended this meeting, which was the first of its kind in the area.
Other U.S. Soldiers established a tactical assembly area nearby in order to advise, evaluate and support the ABP when requested. U.S. leadership attended the shura and their respective organizations' Soldiers provided additional perimeter security.
In addition to the route clearance assets, other supporting units included the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment; 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regt.; and Alpha Company, 426th Civil Affairs Bn.
Angstadt said the Afghan forces accomplished its primary goals during Southern Fist.
"The ABP in Spin Boldak are getting better every day and are well down the road toward being fully independent and able to assume responsibility for the security of Spin Boldak district," Angstadt said. "Every day they show more initiative, creativity and flexibility in operations while energetically facing the enemies of their country."
Article by Staff Sgt. Brendan Mackie, Army.mil