Paktia provincial Deputy Governor Abdal Rahma Mangal, left, talks with tribal leaders in the Jani Khel district during a visit to a remote village Feb. 15, 2009.
DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III
Afghanistan and Iraq: Taliban Leaders Killed, Bombs Discovered, Criminals Detained, New Leadership Steps Up
Sgt. Stryker here with another military update, this time from Afghanistan and Iraq. First a look at Iraq, a country that’s seen a lot of progress and growth over the years. Coalition forces continue to do their jobs, bringing a new Iraq to its feet.
On February 15, 2009, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers discovered an improvised explosive device while conducting daytime operations in the Mansour district of northwestern Baghdad, according to US military officials. An Iraqi army explosive ordinance disposal unit, along with U.S. soldiers, secured and safely disarmed the IED in the Yarmouk neighborhood.
February 14, 2009 in Iraq:
Iraqi army and U.S. soldiers detained two suspected criminals for terrorist activities using Baghdad Operations Center warrants from two different neighborhoods in the Shurta community of southern Baghdadâ€™s Rashid district. The patrol transported the suspects to a nearby joint security station for processing.
In the Saydiyah neighborhood of southern Baghdad, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers confiscated 11 AK-47 assault rifles, one SKS assault rifle and two pistols while conducting neighborhood clearance operations. The patrol delivered the weapons to a nearby joint security station for safekeeping.
Iraqi security forces, partnered with Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers, detained a suspected criminal while conducting operations in southern Baghdadâ€™s Rashid district. Police officers from the 2nd National Police Division, conducting combined clearing operations with soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrested one man using a Baghdad Operations Center warrant in the Abu Tâ€™Shir community. The patrol delivered the suspect, wanted for financing terrorism and producing fake passports, to a nearby Iraqi police station for processing.
Iraqi security forces witnessed an individual moving an IED while conducting operations in the Ameriya neighborhood of northwestern Baghdad. Upon seeing the joint patrol, the individual dropped the IED and fled the scene. Iraqi army and U.S. soldiers recovered the IED and searched the area for the individual. An Iraqi explosive ordinance disposal team responded to the site and disarmed the device.
Meanwhile, on February 15, 2009 in Afghanistan, Afghan and coalition forces killed two Taliban leaders and detained a suspected weapons facilitator in operations.
Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces killed one Taliban commander during an early morning search of a suspected insurgent compound near the village of Khak-e-Safid in Farah province.
When combined forces entered the compound, the militant leveled an AK-47 rifle at them. Coalition forces fired on the subject in self-defense, killing him. The forces positively identified the militant as a known senior Taliban commander and weapons facilitator within Farah province.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, coalition forces killed the Taliban leader of Badghis province and eight of his associates with a precision air strike near Darya-ye-Morghab in Badghis province. Coalition forces learned through intelligence sources that Mullah Dastighir and a group of associates were located in Darya-ye-Morghab, a village near the Turkmenistan border. Once the exact location of the militants was confirmed, forces engaged the target compound with a precision air strike, destroying a building and killing the militants inside. Surrounding structures remained intact, sustaining minimal external damage.
Dastighir was responsible for an increase in violence in Badghis over recent months, including attacks against Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Forces, officials said. In November, Dastighir was responsible for an attack on an Afghan National Army convoy that killed 13 soldiers.
In another operation, Afghan National Police and coalition forces detained a suspected improvised explosive device facilitator while conducting a search of a compound in the Gereshk district of Helmand province.
The detained individual is suspected of distributing IED-making materials to insurgent commanders throughout the Gereshk district and surrounding areas. During the search, the combined force discovered a bag of IED-making materials.
Also in Afghanistan, according to US press releases, the locals are taking charge in other ways. The Paktia provincial deputy governor, a council member and senior religious leader loaded into a U.S. military Black Hawk helicopter on February 15, 2009, and traveled over snow-covered mountains to a remote village in the Jani Khel district northeast of here.
In a field near the districtâ€™s only schoolhouse, the three stepped from the helicopter into a foot of crunchy, melting snow and onto the land of the Mangal tribe. It was a homecoming of sorts for the three who are all from the district and returned to promote peace in an area that still remains a hotbed of insurgent activity within the Paktia province.
At the start of the meeting, a local tribal leader sang of illiteracy within the tribe, and of the countryâ€™s tribulations after the past three decades of war. Other countries have developed, he sang, and have even traveled into space. Afghanistan has not progressed, he lamented.
â€œIn Jani Khel we want peace. We want brotherhood. We donâ€™t want fighting with each other, from tribe to tribe,â€ he sang in traditional Pashto, the language of the region. â€œWe are brave Afghan people and we donâ€™t want to destroy this country again.â€
Spring is only a few months away, and brings with it a promise of fresh insurgent activity in the province. That translates to more risk for his troops operating in the rural, outlying villages. The last PRT lost two of its members in operations here this past summer.
How much fighting that takes place in this eastern Afghanistan province, though, depends largely on the progress his team makes this winter. And they work against the clock to sway the localsâ€™ loyalty before the mountain passes thaw.
Best of luck to all the good guys in Afghanistan.
This is Sgt. Stryker signing out.