“Our aggressiveness has completely changed the fight and what the enemy is capable of doing out here,” said Capt. Jared Graham, the company commander of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Task Force 1-23 Infantry.
The soldiers of Charlie Company are successfully destabilizing enemy operations in the Panjwa’i district of Kandahar, Afghanistan, by taking the fight to the enemy and limiting their ability to move and operate in the district.
“Panjwa’i being the traditional homeland of the Taliban, [the enemy] has a vested interest in maintaining strength in the area,” Graham said. “And our role is to disrupt the enemy and prevent them from being able to project their force.”
The Charlie Company soldiers, who are operating out of Combat Outpost Kenjakak, have been relentless in their effort to thwart enemy insurgents.
“We are always pushing hard against the enemy,” Graham said. “I think that across the board you will find that a lot of the guys think that this deployment matches the tempo they have seen on some of their previous and longer deployments.”
The concentrated efforts of the company have shown an increase of local support and cooperation.
“We have had plenty of tactical success taking down caches and killing the enemy, but those are a means to an end. The real victory is the people wanting a change,” said Graham. “That is our biggest victory, them coming forward and saying they want government, they want a local police program, where they want to be part of the process from here on out.”
By bringing the fight to the enemy so fiercely, the Charlie Company soldiers are taking the fight out of the enemy and greatly lowering their morale.
“A lot of what we see here is [the enemy] trying to maintain what they have and they are struggling to do it,” said Graham. “There have been instances where the Taliban leaders have used force to keep their fighters from quitting. That definitely gives the impression that they are fighting for survival and are just trying to maintain whatever degree of relevance they have at this point. It’s a sign of desperation.”
The successes of the soldiers won’t leave when they do. Through effective training and mentoring programs with Afghan National Security Forces members, the area will be well taken care of even after the unit returns home.
“We have been able to help the ANSF by giving them the room to grow and operate by keeping the enemy at bay,” said Graham. “We have been able to train and mentor the 6th Kandak [1st Brigade, 205th Afghan National Army Corps] to be able to conduct patrols independently.”
“That is probably going to be one of the more lasting accomplishments,” Graham said.
Charlie Company is nearing the end of their tour and will eventually return to their home station at Fort Stewart, Ga.
Graham spoke on the effectiveness of his soldiers and how they have been so successful.
“A lot of our success comes from the discipline of the soldiers and the example of the leaders in the company,” said Graham. “They are the ones that are out getting the job done on a day-to-day basis, and the discipline they have and the cohesion we have built as a company is what makes us so successful.”
Article by Spc. Nevada Jack Smith, 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment