March 3, 2008

From the Front: 03/03/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

In their own words:
One Marine's View: Remember Iraq? - February 28, 2008: Remember Iraq ? You know, the war we lost? The big failure we were wasting our lives and “treasure” on? Yeah, that one. Haven’t heard much about it lately, right? That’s because Iraq has disappeared off the international radar, and for good reasons. Enemy activity levels are at the lowest levels in years. The Iraqi Police and military is growing in leaps and bounds. Half of the country has been turned back over to Iraqi control and next month, Anbar Province will become the tenth province turned over. So what has been going on there anyway? (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Slugfest - At this very moment I am missing out on doing nothing. I'm supposed to be a participant in the annual Slugfest, which began Wednesday and ends Sunday in an unknown chalet in the mountains of Gatlinburg, Tenn. Don't go looking for it in any of the Smoky Mountain travel brochures. Slugfest is not on any calendars and the winner is not memorialized in any way outside of bragging rights among the limited field of participants. For around a dozen years in a row now, my wife and I join three other couples she went to college with to get away from work and the kids and try to see who can do as little as possible for four or five days. In other words, who can be the biggest slug. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Ahmadinejad Does Baghdad - Middle East watchers will read whatever they want into the visit of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Baghdad. One view is that Iran did this to spite the United States, which is not far-fetched. Another is the historically ill-informed view that Iran would never "try to topple the first friendly Shiite regime ever to come to power in Baghdad." [First?!!] But the simplest way to understand the visit is that, in the Middle East, leaders are always paying each other personal visits, exchanging kisses at the airport, etc., even as they work to undermine one another's interests. Short of the bloody enmity that existed between Iran and Baathist Iraq, this is how things are done. Anyway, Iraq needs stable relations and trade agreements with all its neighbours, even this one. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: A Tale of Two Doras - Baghdad's Dora neighborhood used to be a pleasant area. Journalist Nir Rosen, writing in Rolling Stone, describes it now as a miserable place, and argues that its condition reveals the surge’s purported success to be mere mythology. Here’s part of his moody opening description of Dora: “Lakes of mud and sewage fill the streets. Mountains of trash stagnate in the pungent liquid. Most of the windows in the sand-colored homes are broken, and the wind blows through them, whistling eerily. House after house is deserted, bullet holes pockmarking their walls, their doors open and unguarded, many emptied of furniture…. Emptied and destroyed by civil war, walled off by President Bush's much-heralded ‘surge,’ Dora feels more like a desolate, post-apocalyptic maze of concrete tunnels than a living, inhabited neighborhood. Apart from our footsteps, there is complete silence.” (READ MORE)

James Aalan Bernsen: Texas Independence - Part I - When you're in a war, time flows differently. When it comes to your job, it shoots forward, turning you from a novice to a veteran in a mere matter of weeks. When your thoughts wander back home, it slows to a crawl and you realize just how long it's been since you were back there, and all the people you miss. Most actual dates and their significance melts away, but the important holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, gain even more meaning. Dates with patriotic meaning are even more perceptively felt. I arrived here in Iraq on Sep. 11. If all goes according to plan, I might be going home on the 4th of July. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Dear John Tally - The dreaded Dear John hath struck the Gravediggers for a second time. The unlucky recipient? Yours truly. I wrote a rather poetic and moving piece about the hollowness of the experience, the effects of insta-technology on such, and the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy, but due to the personal nature of the event – not to mention the fact that both of our families read this blog routinely – I’ll keep those jaded words tucked away in my personal ramblings, where they belong. (The juxtaposition I established between three years of sunny memories filled with smiles and laughs and a cold, empty combat outpost at 0-Dark-Thirty in the middle of freakin' Iraq was pretty stellar, I must say. Pure brain rage channeled into literary awesomeness.) (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: Iraq News (3 Mar) - The Good: Outgoing #2 officer in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Odierno, talks with Michael Gordon of the New York Times about the future of Iraq. He recommends more job creation, which isn't sounding like a bad idea, since unemployment fuels the insurgency. More dead terrorists up by Tal Afar. Ninawa province in northern Iraq is currently hosting the brunt of Al-Qaeda activity, and small victories like these will aid in preventing future violence in Iraq. The Bad: 5 civilians killed in Diyala province by an IED. (READ MORE)

Dr. Moayad: Friday with Ambassador - Many people in South Baghdad and other Sunni areas were upset when the Iraqi Prime Minster Nuri al-Maliki returned directly from London to Karbala, Iraq to participate in the Shiite memorial of Arbaeen (the end of the annual mourning period of Imam Hussein, a Shiite saint). The Sunnis believe that Mailiki is the Shiite prime minister, not the Iraqi prime minister. But on the early morning of Friday February 29, the South Baghdad neighborhood of Dora received the American Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Everyone in Dora welcomed his visit. It was the first time I met Ambassador Crocker. On TV he looks younger, but he is very active and smart. We walked along 60th Street where reconstruction work has started. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: One last CIB... - I want to start off by once again stating that whoever runs the Firewall for the computers that we have at the outpost are truly bi-polar. Because once again I am able to log on to blogger from the outpost, a change for like the 12th time! AHH! Also I lied in my last post. I have not begun my slow voyage home, but here I am posting again, but thats only because I wanted to get this story out there. The other night, the CLC (Concerned Local Citizens) Group swung by the outpost with a guy that they had detained. Apparently they found this guy out walking around and he had what looked to be a homemade gernade. I had never seen a grenade like this. It had a plastic body and just looked fashioned. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Milk......It does a soldier good! - Hey! I know what you're thinking. "Wow, two posts in a week!" But I have something impressive. The Canadians have real milk! Yep, after a recent patrol, in the vicinity of somewhere, we stopped by one of the Canadian FOBs and had dinner. They had real, whole milk. I dipped a fresh chocolate chip cookie into it and had one of those flashback moments with the streaming music playing in the background. Then I thought "if the Canadians can get fresh milk, why the hell can't the US Army get it?" Suddenly remembering that real milk is for Air Force personnel, I returned to my moment of splendor and enjoyed three glasses of milk, savoring every moment like a high ball of Crown Royal or a pint of Flying Dog. (READ MORE)

Army of Dude: Photo Story Monday - The Home Stretch - He was walking down the street in the middle of the night, AK-47 in tow, without a care about curfews or carrying an automatic assault rifle in the open, strolling along like it was the most natural thing in the world. He didn’t likely hear the Americans infiltrating into the city, walking from a mile away as to not alert anyone with the hum of Strykers growing louder and more ominous. He certainly didn’t hear the sizzling crack that ended his life a split second before he hit the ground in a tangled mess of limbs; the only thing uttered posthumously about him said over static radio waves. One enemy KIA. It had only been twenty minutes into Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the first large scale ground offensive in Iraq after the surge, and already one insurgent was leaking his fluids into the street. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Sisters of Fallujah Help Protect City -FALLUJAH, Iraq (March 02, 2008) – It has become desperate times for the insurgents in the al Anbar province. Backed up against the ropes and badly beaten, they are trying to resort to any dirty trick that they can come up with… even if it means sneaking bomb-making material with women and children past the Coalition and Iraqi forces’ security. These tactics have proven to be futile thanks to the brave women known as the Sisters of Fallujah who selflessly help protect their city and stop any insurgents’ attempt to harm their community. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Hawaii-based Infantrymen keep streets clean with cache sweeps - KARMA, Iraq (Feb. 28, 2008) – To keep coalition forces and Iraqi locals safe from insurgents, Marines seek out and take away any weapons that would be used against them. Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, conducted a routine cache sweep here, Feb. 28. “We’re looking for (improvised explosive devices) and weapons in general when we conduct our sweeps,” said Cpl. Kristian Lopez, squad leader, third squad, first platoon, Co. F, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, RCT-1. “Last year we found a lot of caches and hope to find some this year to get them off the streets.” (READ MORE)

Borzou: MIDDLE EAST: Watching Gaza, from up close and afar - To no one's surprise, pan-Arab television news networks such as Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera flooded the airwaves Saturday and Sunday with gruesome images from Gaza, where an Israeli operation to stop to rocket attacks on southern Israel has left scores of Palestinians dead. But it was somewhat surprising to see how little attention Iraqi news channels gave to the Palestinians' plight. The crawlers scrolling at the bottom of the screen gave regular updates on Palestinian casualties. But the big news by far is the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iraq. (READ MORE)

Tina Susman: IRAQ: Hot and bothered in Baghdad - Spring is in the air, and Iraqis' thoughts are turning to ... air conditioning. That means they're also thinking about the chronic electricity shortages that make the hot months unbearable for people who can't afford to run generators day and night. Sunday's temperature reached 79 degrees. By May, daytime highs near 100 will be the norm. And the news is not good for people who had hoped to escape a repeat of last summer, when most Baghdad residents were lucky to get more than a few hours of power each 120-degree day. Dr. Tahseen Sheikhly found himself having to break the bad news during a news conference that was supposed to highlight the progress of U.S.-Iraqi reconstruction efforts. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Symbols and the USS New York - I suggest, without proving, that it has become very hip to trash symbols or deny their importance. The Flag of the United States being possibly the most prominent of said symbols. Nonetheless, again, without providing links, I think most people agree that symbols are very important.That is why yesterday's christening of the USS New York (LPD 21) is important. Not only has the United States Navy launched a new modern vessel capable of taking Marines to strike at what ever threats exist or may emerge, the front of the hull was built from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the Twin Towers. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: Repent! The End Is Near! - I've been back at my current FOB for over a week now, and have made a conop* to Kabul and back in the meantime. The day after we got here, we made a major thrust into the country to the north of here, which is generally accepted to be "Indian Country." It was sudden, it was in force, and it was a surprise. The enemy did nothing. He didn't fail to act because he was so frightened of our massive firepower. He just didn't know that we were coming, and it was too late to throw an impromptu party, so he watched how we operate. (READ MORE)

Doc in the Box: Blogging Thumbs Up - Last May when I went to the Milblog Conference, there was talk about us being in the last days of milblogging. That military was cracking down on blogging from the front. Being someone who has spent a fair portion of the last 4 years blogging from Iraq, I’m beginning to think it was all a Net Myth. Unlike many of the anonymous Milbloggers, my real name has been attached to my blog since day one and all over the internet. I talk to our Public Affairs Office (PAO) on a regular basis. In fact, I know for a fact that the New Media Division on the Marine side is embracing blogging done by troops on the ground. (READ MORE)

ToySoldier: So... - along with posting actual news, I figured I'd write my own little update. Tired as usual, our work schedule just got tripled and we get the same amount of time off, so 300% more work, with 0% more time off; if they're trying to pummel me into the ground for the last few months of this deployment...they've won. I quit. Just got over a bout with the flu, vomiting and diarrhea are a horrible mixture, and I do not recommend that any one experiences it. Especially while living in a tent, in Iraq, with DFAC food the only way to sustain themselves. Luckily it ended quickly (and let me apologize for the TMI portion concerning bodily functions/fluids) and I got back to work. (READ MORE)

Desert Dude: 1 March - WOOOOOHOOOOO… we leave this month… I can’t freakin wait…but, mom, regarding your last comment, I can’t promise you that I will remain on the FOB—I actually went out today…woke up around 0600 to get showered and cleaned up for the trip…got my weapon and ammo—M249 today…got my body armor, helmet, night vision, and all my other crap and loaded up the truck…hit the convoy briefing—same ol stuff…bad guys here and there, suicide bombers, this is our route, this is our mission, truck call signs, personnel in the trucks, chain of command, etc…today our mission was to take everyone’s excess baggage to Jalalabad to load it on a pallet and have it flown to Bagram so we don’t have to carry it on the chopper when we leave for good… (READ MORE)

Paul McLeary: Used Up - This is a profound national embarrassment. The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus reports this morning that the State Department “has stopped processing the applications of 551 Iraqi and Afghan translators seeking special visas to come to the United States, because the current legal quota of 500 visas for the program this year is about to be reached.” “The halt is the latest obstacle for many of the several thousand translators who have worked for U.S. military units in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives and leaving their families vulnerable to retaliation from insurgents who see them as accomplices of American troops. More than 250 interpreters working for U.S. forces or their contractors have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.” (READ MORE)

Paul McLeary: A mere pile of paper - This is a few days old, but John Robb offers an offers an interesting take on the primacy that the Americans are placing on the Awakening/Sons of Iraq groups that are providing security in many areas of Iraq: “This situation puts the US military in a difficult position, one that goes deeper than being caught on the horns of dilemma (as in: caught between supporting ‘former’ insurgents or government forces). The improvised theory that led the US military to fund the insurgency (the ‘Awakening’) has transformed the US Counter-Insurgency doctrine (COIN) -- a document was so carefully prepared and announced with such fanfare -- into a mere pile of paper. Why?” (READ MORE)

Back Stateside but still writing:
A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 1 MAR 2008 A project seeking memories of fallen heroes - Hi Friends, You don't hear from me much because my life is blissfully boring! I have been operating on children and seeing patients in clinic at our military treatment facility in Texas. Recently I was given the privilege to care for the child of a friend with whom I deployed to Iraq in 2005. His child is strong and healthy, and thankfully shows every sign of being on the road to recovery after this illness. It humbles me so to know that someone who has seen me at my best and worst during the trials of combat surgery thinks I'm good enough to trust with their precious child. In my odd view of the world, it means more than a stranger choosing me to care for their child, based merely on the authority given to me by title and training, not specific knowledge of me as an individual. (But it's not about me, it's about the child getting well, by whatever route necessary!) Today I was contacted by Izumi Tanaka, a producer who is working on a very touching project. I will let his words explain: (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Taking Back a Qaeda Stronghold - ARAB JABOUR, Iraq - A former stronghold of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, this rural and overwhelmingly Sunni area south of Baghdad on the west bank of the Tigris was once a country getaway for Saddam Hussein’s cronies. His sons Uday and Qusay had a weekend house here. After the invasion in 2003, it became a virtual no-go zone for the Iraqi police and army, which faced a resentful and embittered population uniformly hostile both to the Americans and to any security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government that had replaced “their” regime. (READ MORE)

Coalition Forces capture Special Groups facilitator; detain two suspects - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces captured a suspected Special Groups facilitator and detained one other suspected criminal early Monday in Mashru, south of Baghdad. The targeted individual was reportedly a Special Groups logistical advisor for Wasit Province. As a logistical leader, he allegedly facilitated the movement of Special Groups criminals involved in sniper and explosively formed penetrator, EFP, attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. He is also suspected of facilitating weapon shipments to include EFPs, rockets and mortars. Reports also indicate the wanted individual was an associate of Iranian-backed Special Groups criminal element leaders involved in attacks on Iraqi and Coalition Forces. (READ MORE)

Tennessee’s 130th Support Center heads home from Iraq - CAMP BUCCA, Iraq – Lt. Col. Robert N. Hibbett and the soldiers of 130th Support Center are preparing to return to Tennessee after transferring their responsibilities to 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery of the Oklahoma National Guard, commanded by Lt. Col. David Jordan. “Due to Lt. Col. Hibbett’s leadership by example, positive attitude and willingness to help, each of us now has a better life here at Bucca,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Hipwell, commander, 300th Military Police Brigade, who has overall responsibility for operations at Camp Bucca. (READ MORE)

Oklahoma’s 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery takes over support of Camp Bucca - CAMP BUCCA, Iraq – Lt. Col. David Jordan and the soldiers of Oklahoma’s 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery “Thunderbirds” took over all responsibilities for the support of Camp Bucca during a ceremony Monday. “I am pleased to have you and your talented team here,” said Brig Gen Robert Hipwell, commander of the 300th Military Police Brigade, which has overarching responsibility for all operations at Camp Bucca. “I have nothing but the utmost faith and confidence you will continue to set the standard of excellence established by the 130th.” (READ MORE)

Traffic police find IED; IP, IA detain possible suspect - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Traffic Police found an improvised explosive device on a foot bridge in the Karada district of eastern Baghdad, and alerted Iraqi Security Forces in the area March 2. Iraq Police and Iraqi Army Soldiers confirmed the presence of the IED and secured the area. The NP and IA detained a suspect who they believe placed the IED. The suspect appeared to be fleeing the scene. The suspect’s vehicle was also confiscated. (READ MORE)

Coalition captures IED facilitator near Baghdad, 19 other suspects detained - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces detained 20 suspected terrorists Saturday and today during operations to disrupt al-Qaeda networks operating in central and northern Iraq. East of Baghdad this morning, Coalition forces captured an alleged improvised explosive device facilitator associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq networks throughout the capital city. The suspect is reportedly involved in a facilitation network supplying explosive materials to the leader of a central Baghdad AQI network, who is a close associate of the overall senior leader for the city’s AQI networks. The suspect is also believed to be a close associate and alleged relative of the leader of the Bizayz terrorist network, which operates south of Baqubah and east of Kahn Bani Sa’ad. In addition to the wanted individual, the ground force detained nine suspected terrorists on site. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces capture Special Groups leader, detain three other suspects - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces captured an alleged Special Groups criminal militia leader and detained three other suspected criminals early Sunday in the Numaniyah area, south of Baghdad. The operation targeted a suspected criminal militia member reportedly involved in attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces as a Special Groups leader in al-Kut. The suspect allegedly attended paramilitary and explosively formed penetrator training in Iran. Reports indicate he was an associate of several other Special Groups criminal element leaders also involved in attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Sheik turns in weapons cache - BAGHDAD – A local Tarmiya sheik turned in a weapons cache Feb. 29 to Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, northwest of Baghdad. The cache consisted of 41 artillery shells of various calibers, artillery casings filled with home made explosives and detonating cord, 13 metal containers filled with home made explosives, seven mortar shells, two missile warheads, three rocket warheads, two jugs of nitric acid and seven detonating fuses. (READ MORE)

Soldiers Offer Micro-Grants to Struggling Store Owners in Husseiniya - HUSSEINIYA — As the door opened, the shop owner momentarily halted his conversation with the unexpected visitor to tend to the needs of a customer who walked into his dimly lit store, Feb. 26. After the customer left the store with his purchases, the vendor proceeded to tell the visitor, 1st Lt. Otis Ingram, that he did not need monetary aid for his business, as it was doing well; the businessman did, however, inform Ingram of businesses a few blocks down that needed the micro-grants that were available. (READ MORE)

Georgians Provide Medical Services, Humanitarian Assistance - FOB DELTA — Soldiers from the 1st Georgian Infantry Brigade are providing medical and humanitarian assistance to villages surrounding Coalition Force checkpoints in Wasit province. “We have a very good relationship between the villagers and the Coalition forces,” said Capt. Zaori Marakadze, 1st GB Civil Military Cooperation Team (CMCT) commander. During a visit Feb. 23, the Georgian team provided supplies and medical and dental care to 50 villagers in Abu Bukar, a village of about 120 residents located near An Numaniyah. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Army, Marines Join Forces to Renovate Dilapidated School House - AL QA’IM — Iraqi Army Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, along with Marines and Sailors of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, recently arrived at a school here carrying an abundance of tools and supplies. The joint effort had one goal: to provide the children with a school they could be proud of. The school needs a lot of work, but the children deserve it, said an Iraqi Army Soldier who wished to be not named. The school clean-up kicked off with Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines working side by side, clearing broken windows and removing the dirt and debris from each classroom (READ MORE)

Soldiers Patrol with Iraqi Police, Show Unity, Build Trust - HUSSEINIYA — Children swarmed around the men in uniform and extended their hands, eager to receive a newspaper. Although some of the children could not yet read, the colorful pictures were enough to ignite their curiosity. If they could get through the crowd of children, the men would give one of the newspapers to an adult who happened to be out on the street. Whether they received it from an Iraqi or an American, a policeman or a Soldier, the people were eager to hold the newspaper. (READ MORE)

Mullen: Rapid Iraq Withdrawal Would Negate Security Gains - WASHINGTON — A precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq not based on conditions on the ground would turn around all the gains the Coalition has made in the country, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Thursday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters following an all-hands meeting with the Joint Staff that the military must be prepared “across the board” for what any new president would bring. “I wouldn’t be predictive of who that would be, nor would I be specifically predictive of what decisions … that individual may make,” Mullen said. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Police, Soldiers Graduate Task Force Marne NCO Academy - FOB KALSU — More than 80 Iraqi Soldiers and policemen graduated the Task Force Marne Noncommissioned Officer Academy here, Feb. 25. For two weeks, the students participated in foot patrols, Humvee combat patrols, rifle ranges and classroom lectures to increase their skills and ability to lead in combat. “You must now ‘leave and lead,’” Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Berhane, command sergeant major for the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, told the graduates, echoing a motto of the 3rd Infantry Division NCO Academy at Fort Stewart, Ga. “As you return to your units, you must constantly remind yourself what being a leader is about.” (READ MORE)

Veterinarian Clinic Treats 300 Sheep in Rural Iraqi Community - BAGHDAD — With the help from civil affairs veterinarians, Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), held a veterinarian operation Feb. 22 in the southern portion of Abu Ghraib in the Iraqi capital. The sounds of sheep echoed through the air as they arrived in herds of nearly 30 at a time to this very rural area of Baghdad. Surrounded by orange fencing, sheep waited to receive vaccination shots to help with their growth and reproduction issues. (READ MORE)

ANSF, Coalition forces degrade IED, foreign-fighter networks - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – An armed insurgent was killed and two suspected insurgents were detained March 2 during a joint Afghan National Security and Coalition force’s operation degrading Taliban foreign-fighter facilitation and improvised explosive device networks in Zabul Province. The joint force conducted a search of compounds in the Jeldak District targeting a Taliban sub-commander responsible for facilitating suicide IEDs and foreign-fighter networks. The targeted individual was also associated with the unlawful detention and murder of a number of civilians as well as extorting money, food and shelter from a neighboring district village. (READ MORE)

Paratroopers save lives in the midst of tragedy - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – When a suicide bomber detonated his explosives killing himself and at least eight others here the morning of Feb. 27, 2007, what was left in the aftermath was chaos and bloodshed; however, among the many heroes that tragic day, were two 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers. Army Sgts. Rodney Scott and Kathleen Torkildson, Headquarters Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Abn. Div., displayed courage and poise when they responded to the suicide bombing administering first-aid and comfort to the wounded saving countless lives. (READ MORE)

Lieutenant Colonel John Strandberg - Lieutenant Colonel Strandberg distinguished himself by defining requirements, developing the concept, conducting on ground assessments, preparing the justification and managing the request for the first Agribusiness Development Team in Afghanistan. Identifying the enormous agricultural need, he worked closely with Afghan, US agencies and the U.S. Army National Guard to gain approval of a 48 person (US Army National Guard), self-sufficient team capable of providing agriculture, horticulture, food processing, irrigation, animal husbandry, pest management, soil science and agribusiness marketing support in order to expand Afghan food production, increase employment and promote economic development. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces disrupt Taliban leaders in Zabul, Helmand provinces - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Several insurgents were killed and eight suspected insurgents were detained March 1 during two separate Coalition forces’ operations to degrade Taliban leadership networks. Coalition forces performed a search of compounds in the Garmsir District of Helmand Province during an operation targeting a Taliban commander responsible for facilitating foreign fighters and weapons smuggling operations. Several insurgents were killed when they fired on Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Local Villagers Receive Medical Treatment in Deh Rawuh, Afghanistan - Coalition Forces conducted a medical outreach last week in the remote district of Deh Rawuh, Oruzgan Province in Southern Afghanistan. Physicians were able to perform minor procedures such as removing small tumors and fixing minor health problems that otherwise cause pain or discomfort. Coalition Forces doctors frequently travel to these remote areas to provide much needed medical care to Afghan Citizens, who do not have local health care facilities available. (READ MORE)

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