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U.S. Soldiers Team Up With Afghan, New Zealand Forces

By Army 1st Lt. Lory Stevens
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Dec. 19, 2008 – Soldiers of the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade's security force from Fort Polk, La., serving in Task Force Warrior had a new mission in Afghanistan recently when it teamed up with Afghan and New Zealand forces to combat crimes in the eastern part of the country.

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Army Sgt. Kevin Swackhamer of the Task Force Warrior security force examines the ankle of an injured Afghan man during a mission in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province, Dec. 10, 2008. U.S. Army photo

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After an increase in robberies and other insurgent activities in parts of Bamyan province, a team from the Task Force Warrior security force joined forces with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team and Afghan National Police to conduct combat patrols and searches in several areas of the province.

The security force normally provides transportation for key personnel throughout the area of operations. But for the last couple of weeks, they conducted offensive operations in conjunction with other elements of the brigade as well as the PRT and ANP, Army Lt. Col. Stephen Jeselink, the 1st MEB's deputy commander, said.

“There had been a couple recent robberies along the Shibar Pass, which runs along the boundary of Bamyan and Parwan provinces,” said Army 1st Lt. Brian Capra, officer in charge of the force, who implemented vehicle checkpoints and static observation posts throughout Shibar Valley.

The force also conducted patrols along the Gandak Highway, which runs along the territory where Hungarians conduct operations in Baghlan province.

“The operation targeted insurgents known to traffic weapons and explosives used to conduct attacks,” said Jeselink, who reported the operation as successful and without incident.

Coalition forces established more of a presence to dissuade criminal activity and deny the enemy freedom of movement, officials said. In addition, they established relationships with local villagers.

“Afghan people were very generous,” Capra said, noting that village elders allowed troops to stay overnight in village schoolhouses as they traveled throughout the territory.

The force also distributed radios and handed out other humanitarian aid as they conducted patrols.

(Army 1st Lt. Lory Stevens serves in the Task Force Warrior public affairs office.)

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U.S. Forces Afghanistan

Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn interpreter for Task Force Warrior speaks with two villagers from Afghanistan’s Bamyan province Dec. 10, 2008, during operations to secure roadways and search for roadside-bomb facilitators. U.S. Army photo  
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