Flying in under the cloak of darkness, Afghan National Security Forces, along with American soldiers, conducted an air assault into the mountains of the Nader Shah Kot district Nov. 1.
The combined force searched for weapon caches and suspected insurgents living in three villages located in the northern part of the district.
Navigating through ankle-breaking terrain, troops with 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division descended upon the first village at daybreak. Instead of anticipated hostility, Afghan villagers greeted them with welcoming smiles, tea and flatbread.
U.S. and Afghan Uniform Police discovered possible improvised explosive device-making material, along with small arms weapons in one of the houses.
“The individual was one of the houses we were going to hit,” said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Jason Sager, from Richmond, Ind. “That individual had more weapons than he was allowed and he also had more ammunition than he was allowed as well as possible IED-making materials so the confiscated it.”
“Even a small discovery like that can make a big difference in the end,” said U.S. Army Capt. Mark Snowbarger, of Mogadore, Ohio. “Finding caches takes equipment off the battlefield from the bad guys. If they don’t have their equipment, no Coalition forces can be hurt, no ANSF can be hurt and they can’t intimidate the locals.”
Afghan villages haven’t seen U.S. or ANSF personnel for almost three years, so making their presence known and re-establishing contact with the locals in the area was a good thing, said Sager.
“We had intel that [these areas] were supporters of the Taliban but since we have been to the area we have confirmed that the reports were wrong,” said Sager. “Letting the people see the ANA and AUP out there working for them is always an important thing.”
As the day and the mission neared completion, the combined patrol heaved on their rucks and set off back to base on foot.
“For me, anytime I can bring my entire troop back to the camp with no injuries is a success.” said Snowbarger.
Article by Combined Joint Task Force 1 - Afghanistan