September 22, 2008

From the Front: 09/22/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

In their own words:
...feeling of absurdity...: The Catholic Priest - He curses, calls soldiers "dude" and "man", proudly admits to drinking heavily, looks about 30 years old, 85% bald, and sometimes forgets what he is saying mid-sentence. He is a Catholic Priest, Army Chaplain, and Army Officer - Captain to be exact. Not only is he a strange man, but he is actually interesting to listen to. If it were not for his "stories" that he manages to draw up mid-mass I would probably not have continued to go to his masses at random times on random days at our Combat Out Post (COP) here in Diyala Province. A brief description of him might be called for here. He is about 6 foot tall, bald as I already mentioned, wears ACUs like you would expect an Army Officer to, weighs in around 240 or so and wears fairly thick glasses. One might actually take him seriously until he begins talking. (READ MORE)

...feeling of absurdity...: Thoughts - My favorite professor in college told me that terrorist cell organizations cannot be fully defeated due to their decentralized organization. He used the metaphor of trying to grasp a stream of water in your palm, you can try all you want but some of the water is always going to leak out. I notice a lot of financially motivated "terrorism", not the ideological terrorism that I feel most of the western world imagines. Yea, there are the occasional religious fundamentalists who strap on the SVEST but my experience has shown me mostly frustrated young men who found a way they can "be somebody" and make their own money. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Death in the Corn: Part III of III - Living with British troops of 2 Para at FOB Gibraltar and watching them fight, I witnessed one of the great paradoxes of Afghanistan. The troops are fighting hard and killing the enemy. They are professional and extremely competent. Their morale is high. They are doing a great job. And we are losing the war. Their troubles with a local sniper demonstrate some of the complexities and frustrations of this war, which the British public don’t even call a “war.” The British soldiers know this is a real war, but the British at home characterize it as a “conflict.” Meanwhile, Americans at home seem to mostly have forgotten about Afghanistan, though luckily they are starting to wake up. Yet it’s obvious here on the ground that this situation could deteriorate into something far worse than we ever saw in Iraq. On 02 September, the enemy sniper was at it again... (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: French and NATO Intentionally Deceiving the Public - NATO and the French military continue to deny that a secret report exists concerning the loss of ten French soldiers last month in Afghanistan. For the record, I have no intention of publishing any part of the secret report. Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper heavily cited the report, and I merely confirmed that the report does in fact exist, that the newspaper article accurately reflected the contents of the report, and warned that if NATO and the French military maintained their position that the report was either inaccurate or nonexistent, they might find themselves contradicted by its publication. More importantly, the document was handed to me with zero expectation that I would keep it secret. In fact, there seemed to be an expectation that I might publish something, though I did keep it secret, other than to verify the Globe and Mail story. We can’t win this war if the people at home think the military here is deceiving them. (READ MORE)

A Battlefield Tourist: Marines Form Air/Ground Task Force Destined for Southern Afghanistan - As 3,500 US Marines prepare to leave southern Afghanistan following an extended tour in Helmand and Farah Provinces, the US Department of Defense announces they will be replaced by at least 2,000 fresh Marines with 3,500 additional soldiers set to land two months later. US Marines, led by Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment (3/8) from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, is expected to be in place by November and will comprise the combat element of a new Marine Air/Ground Task Force (MAGTF). 1,000 other Marines will be taken from across the Corps to complete the “ad hoc” task force. Although the full mission of the MAGTF has not been disclosed, the Marines will most likely continue the training mission currently underway by Second Battalion, Seventh Marines (2/7), who are operating mostly in Farah Province. (READ MORE)

Collabman's Thought: Dragoon Rugby... - Evening - Is it October yet? Seems to me the month of September has come to a screeching halt, eh? I can't move the days along any faster so I will just have to adjust to this slow battle rhythm. This just goes with the territory... As I sift through the news each night hunting for information on the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, I still grimace when I see Seven U.S. troops killed in Iraq helicopter crash. Even though it doesn't involve the 2nd SCR I still ache for the families and loved ones of this Team of Fallen Angels. That knock on the door that will come seven names in a roll call - each that will be answered with a deafening silence. What appeared to be a routine helo convoy from Kuwait to Balad air base turned deadly in the black of night. A stark reminder that our warriors will remain in harm's way until the day they redeploy out of country... (READ MORE)

Fobbits need ice cream too: BOHICA '08 - Been off the grid for a little bit. I was informed 8 hours before the SP time that I was going on R&R to Qatar. I requested not to go but I am told I need to relax. I spent a little while doing push-ups because I commented to my PL that vacations are for faggots. We got dropped off at the airbase (ASLA/Camp Doha or Ali Al Salem Air Base) about 5 minutes from our FOB and got fucked for two days because of canceled flights. Ali Al Salem is where everyone in theater (OIF and OEF) comes to go on leave, come back from leave, go to/from R&R, or to redeploy to another theater or back stateside. It's absolutely crowded with thousands of people from every branch, civilians (Blackwater, KBR), DOD Contractors, Civilians...foreign military services...etc. The group from our BN is just me and a squad leader from another platoon in the company. The transient housing office did not have tents available (except for E7 and above or O3 and above), (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Our new home - Via several convoys, the majority of Marines with Regimental Combat Team 1 have arrived to our new home at Camp Ramadi. Camp Fallujah, which was a military training camp for Saddam Hussein’s Royal Guard, was a perfect place to use as our own military fortification and has served us well over the last several years. Camp Ramadi is just a section of Ramadi that Coalition forces decided would be suitable for a large military camp, and has been a little bit more difficult to get up and running. We have been working around the clock to ensure that the remaining incoming personnel can hit the ground running. (READ MORE)

Hello Iraq: The Islamabad bombing - The massive bombing of the well guarded Marriott in Islamabad ought to be a wake up call for Pakistan. How much longer will Pakistani leadership sit on the fence. Admittedly Pakistan has seemed to be one of our and the coalitions most trusted allies in the region. If that were really their roll, why would we have to start going after Al-Qaeda across Pakistan’s border in an effort to stop the latest influx of terrorists crossing over into to Afghanistan? Pakistan is at a cross roads now. It must either allow Muslim extremism to become the major force in Pakistan or take a stand for democracy. But, that would mean an end to the corruption that exists in the Pakistani leadership. The leadership in Pakistan also needs to start addressing the needs of its own citizens. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: President Obama Would Bring New Trouble - Democrats insist that electing Barack Obama would help improve the image of the United States overseas. That image, they say, has been seriously damaged by the Bush White House. We can all agree that the rest of the World doesn’t think too highly of America, and that the U.S. could benefit from a makeover. But is Obama the way to go? Actually electing him might only complicate things for the U.S. in some parts of the world. Yes, the French and the Germans love Obama , and the Kenyans would celebrate his presidency. But how would that presidency play out in Muslim countries? In the West, a person can be born without a religion and go through life without any spiritual connection. A person can also choose his faith or choose to have no faith. But in the East, it’s often a different story. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: What Do the MSM Have Against Iraq? - If readers want another reason to be annoyed with the media, here's a good one for you. The Associated Press reports that Iraqi parliament is deadlocked because lawmakers can't agree on a new U.N. proposal regarding a law paving the way for provincial elections, which the U.S. considers key to peace among Iraq's religious and ethnic communities. That's the AP's take. Here's the Iraqi version: A Kurdish parliamentarian tells Voices of Iraq [Arabic] that his group has made some concessions regarding the elections law. Specifically Sherwan Zahawi said the Kurdish alliance agreed to power-sharing in Kirkuk. He said the Kurds did so, at the advice of the UN, despite the fact that they won the positions of governor, deputy governor, and president of the provincial parliament during the 2005 elections. (READ MORE)

IN-iraq: Near Mosul, War Has Helped and Hindered Efforts to Excavate the 1,400-Year-Old Dair Mar Elia Monastery - The eastern wall has concaved where the tank turret lifted into the brick and mortar. Inside the plain walls of the chapel, one shell-shaped niche is decorated with intricate carvings and an Aramaic inscription asks for prayers of the soul of the person interred beneath the walls. Shades of a cobalt blue fresco can be found above the stepped altar. Graffiti penned by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers is scrawled in hard-to-reach places throughout. Shards of pottery of an undetermined age litter what might have been a kiln area. Only the stone and mud mortar of the walls themselves seem to remain as strong as the surrounding earth mounds, which may contain unexcavated monk cells or granaries, Dr. Bott says. (READ MORE)
The Left Captain: Living in the Future - I'm getting a new battle rhythm, based on the needs of our commander. It looks like we will be expected to try to visit each of the FOBs or COPs in our area of responsibility at least once per month or sooner. This isn't out of necessity, but is driven by some Army policy that is enforced by some Army Colonel somewhere, and is reinforced by the commander here. We were shooting for a six week interval or for an as-needed schedule, which is what was done by the last team. Oh well, things change. I am making peace with this by trying to control the mode of my travel as much as possible. Flying is the preffered way to travel. Not only is it more comfortable but it is faster and you have a decreased chance of experiencing an ambush, and a zero chance of experiencing an IED. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Bombing at Islamabad Marriott latest in string of complex terror attacks - The bombing at the Marriott hotel in Pakistan's capital of Islamabad is shaping up to be one of the country's most deadly attacks. The complex attack is the latest in a series of al Qaeda attacks that have occurred in the Middle East and South Asia. More than 70 people have been reported killed and 257 have been reported wounded so far in what the Pakistani press has dubbed "Pakistan’s 9/11." The death toll is expected to rise as more people are believed to have been trapped in the hotel. Dozens of Westerners have been wounded in the attack, and there are unconfirmed reports one or more Westerners have been killed. The massive blast left a crater 25 foot deep by 20 feet wide. The blast detonated a natural gas line in the hotel, which then set several floors of the hotel ablaze. (READ MORE)

Matel-in-Iraq: Victory in Iraq - I am not sure what to do with this blog. I enjoy writing and will probably keep on posting, but it will not be as interesting most of the time. I cannot continue to use the title “Matel in Iraq.” I was thinking of putting a period to the sentence and calling it “Victory in Iraq,” since that is what I believe America has achieved here. It would be a stand alone, historical webpage. One of my colleagues thought that would be a bad idea because it was too strident. He may be right. We have achieved success here, but victory has that WWII feel of having it settled and the war on terror is not settled. Your suggestions are welcomed. FYI – I will have left Al Asad by the time you read this and will leave Iraq entirely in a few days. I have some free time. I look forward to seeing my family again and just being in Virginia. I want to get up to Milwaukee for a while and Mariza and I will attend the national tree farmer convention in Portland, Oregon. (READ MORE)

Rocinante's Burdens: Day 93. IED - An IED (Improvised Explosive Device) AKA roadside bomb went off in my area last night, killing one and seriously wounding 3 others. They may not survive either. I hope it hurts and they suffer terribly before they die and go to hell. They were inside a house, building the IED when it went off. This tells me something. In a country where the resilient and adaptive enemy has been operating for 5 years, that the people with all that experience are either dead or in captivity. It is the second string that is teaching the next generation to build IEDs, and they aren't very good at it. (READ MORE)

Soldier's Mom: H Co 3/2 SCR Homecoming - I thought I would pass on some information regarding the homecoming for the soldiers of Hawk Company. The FRG has graciously taken it upon themselves to assist those single and geographically single Soldiers who will return to Germany to an empty barracks room until they can get to the PX or the commissary. Some suggested items for your Hero are: Hometown Banners or a sign to palce in the hallway or motor pool, Pictures of family and friends, Favorite homemade goodies or snacks, Bedding including sheets, pillow, blanket, Anything that would be special to your Hero, Personal hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.) , Letters/Cards, Mail all items to: April Frans CMR 411 Box 5372 APO AE 09112 (READ MORE)

Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army: [Jeremy] Hello all! - Well, it's me again! Thank you for all the support you all have been giving my brother and I!! I can't say that enough! I really appreciate everything! Well, life hasn't been all that exciting around here lately. Just hanging out with the occasional "work" here and there. I can't wait to get home next month...well,'s pretty close to "next month". I'm really looking forward to it! I hope my brother enjoys his time in the states. I'm sure he'll have a blast. I have big plans too when I get home....DO NOTHING! I'm going to enjoy time with Courtney, my family and my friends. It should be a nice trip. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to getting out of here for a while too. It will be nice to see some green grass, some trees with leaves, and all that stuff. I was talking to someone the other day and we mentioned how so many Soldiers get hurt when they get home from speeding... (READ MORE)

Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army: [John] Been Gone a While - I was a little delayed in the getting the two prior post up for a few reasons. On Sunday I went on another road trip. This time I rode in an up armored Humvee. This was a lot different from what I am used to riding in. We got held up in traffic in Kabul and the way we got out was interesting. I do not think this is a place that I should I tell you, but it was interesting. I was able to get to ISAF and get all my medals picked up and delivered back to BAF that day. That was a long day. Early that morning I when I got up I was not feeling very well, but I sucked it up because the only other option was also sick, but he was worse than I was. I went on the trip and got back and continually felt worse throughout the remainder of the day. About 10pm I gave up and went to the hospital. I was given the cure all, an IV. I took the IV and they gave me meds to help with upset stomach and PAIN? (READ MORE)

Big Tobacco: Redundancy - I did not smoke while composing this. “So am I still the headquarters platoon sergeant?” I ask. “Yes,” my first sergeant says. “No,” my first sergeant corrects himself. “We need you in the TOC here,” the operations sergeant says. “We’re splitting the platoon up into operations and support. You are going to operations.” The TOC. The dreaded TOC. Air conditioning. Video games. DVDs. Ice Cream. Can someone please explain why signal units are running convoys but Infantry units pull gate guard at a FOB? My humiliation is complete. I was a leader of men… once. (READ MORE)

Zen Traveller: Moths To A Flame - A favorite tactic of bombers is to detonate one device, wait for a crowd to gather, along with security personnel, and then detonate a larger device, killing and maiming scores of curious on-lookers. Arab countries appear to be particularly susceptible to this ploy because there is something within the culture that attracts people to dangerous or spectacular events like moths to a flame. Time and time again I've watched footage of Iraqi, Pakistani, or Afghan citizens rushing towards an explosion or gunshots motivated only by their curiosity, whereas a westerner's first reaction would be to flee in the opposite direction. The above footage of the truck bomb at the Islamabad Marriott serves as an example of this phenomenon. It's clear that a large truck is trying to forcibly gain entrance to the hotel. Once it is stopped by the metal gate the security guards rush towards it to investigate, one even attempted to put out the small engine fire. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Sudan to Yemen to South Dakota to Iraq, with Arabic - Every Marine has a story to tell about the life's journey that took them to the Anbar province of Iraq. Lance Cpl. Migdad H. Mustafa's route was more circuitous than most. He was born in Sudan, and his family moved to Yemen, and then were admitted to the U.S. as political refugees when Mustafa was 14. The family settled in South Dakota, home to numerous Sudanese. (READ MORE)

Nuri Kamal al-Putin? - Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has been on quite a roll lately, enough so that he seems for the first time of becoming a force that shapes his country’s destiny. And so, for the first time as well, the question of how Mr. Maliki plans to govern Iraq, as opposed to merely survive politically, has taken on some urgency. From Basra, to Baghdad, in Sunni and Shia areas alike, he has moved aggressively against threats and rivals, curbing at least for now the militias of Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel Shiite cleric, in Basra and Baghdad. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers, ISF capture SG criminals with SoI help, seize cache in Baghdad’s Rashid district - FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Multi-National Division –Baghdad Soldiers, working with Iraqi Security Forces, detained Special Groups criminals and seized a weapons cache during ongoing security operations in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad Sept. 20 - 21. Around 9:30 a.m., Sons of Iraq members flagged downed Iraqi National Police of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Brigade, 2nd NP Division, to inform them of two individuals emplacing an improvised explosive device on the roof of a house in the Doura community Sept. 20. (READ MORE)

Al Qaeda communication networks further degraded - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces targeting al Qaeda in Iraq courier networks captured one wanted man and three additional suspects Monday, further degrading the terrorist organization’s ability to communicate. Forces operating in the vicinity of Tarmiyah, 35 km north of Baghdad, captured a suspected terrorist who admitted to being a letter courier for a long-time AQI operator in the Northern Belt region. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces kill two terrorists - BAGHDAD – Coalition forces killed two terrorists during an operation Sept. 21 approximately 18 km south of Mosul, dealing another blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq networks. As Coalition forces approached a vehicle occupied by the two terrorists, one of the men exited the vehicle and began firing. Coalition forces engaged the men, killing them both. (READ MORE)

Sons, Daughters of Iraq registration wraps up in Adhamiyah district - BAGHDAD – The last of nearly 2,900 members of the Sons of Iraq and Daughters of Iraq were officially registered with the Government of Iraq Sept. 20 in the Adhamiyah district of northern Baghdad. The men and women made their way to Combat Outpost Apache in northern Baghdad to have their paperwork processed and information entered into a database to facilitate payment of their contract once the Iraqi Government takes control of the program Oct. 1. (READ MORE)

Iraqi airmen keep helicopter fleet flying - TAJI AIR BASE, Iraq – The vaguely comforting scent of oil and mechanical parts drifted through the air as an Mi-17 Hip helicopter sat in the shade of a hangar here Sept. 11. Its rear door lay open, and panels along its tail boom were lifted away and stowed as Iraqi airmen crawled through the vehicle's innards. Two airmen straddled the tail, about a meter from the tail blade, while a third had shimmied inside the tail boom, inspecting the inside. (READ MORE)

NPs, U.S. Soldiers detain suspected criminals in Baghdad - BAGHDAD – National Police officers and Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Multi-National Division – Baghdad, detained four suspected Special Group criminals in eastern Baghdad, Sept. 21. Policemen from 2nd Battalion, 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division and their U.S. Soldier partners from 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment detained the suspected criminals during an operation at approximately 3:30 a.m. in the Beladiyat area of New Baghdad. (READ MORE)

IED attack kills local service station owner - BAGHDAD – An improvised explosive device exploded in the Rusafa security district of Baghdad killing an Iraqi civilian, Sept. 21. The IED was detonated at approximately 10:26 a.m. near Babil. The civilian killed in the attack was a local service station owner with no known political affiliations. (READ MORE)

First of 13 Iraqi police stations opens in Salah ad Din province - TIKRIT, Iraq – The first of 13 local police stations opened its doors during an Iraqi Police station validation ceremony in Salah ad Din province Sept. 16. Dozens gathered in the midst of a dust storm to mark the opening of the al Answar Police Station in the town of al Secour, part of the Tikrit police district. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Army, U.S. Soldiers Hunt Hidden Weapons, Keep the Peace - MOSUL — Third Armored Calvary Regiment Soldiers recently assisted the Iraqi Army in a joint services weapons search mission in villages west of Mosul. The Iraqi Army conducts these missions periodically to show their presence and to keep insurgents from moving into the villages. “The mission today was very productive,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Lewis, a sergeant with Iron Hawk Troop, 3/3 ACR. “We made a presence with American and Iraqi forces working together, showing progress to the Iraqi people, how we work together.” (READ MORE)

U.S. Soldiers Train the Trainers with Iraqi Border Patrol - COMBAT OUTPOST HEIDER — Mounds of loose dirt span the horizon for miles. A group of Soldiers move tactically through the night while looking for signs of illegal border crossing. In the distance, a group of lights shine from a nearby Syrian town. Soldiers look for vehicles moving along a Syrian border road and report suspicious activities. The small team must be sure vehicles do not suddenly turn toward the border to pose a threat to a guard post nearby. This is what Iraqi Border Patrol trainees experience while patrolling the border between Iraq and Syria. (READ MORE)

Sheik Vowes Support to Government of Iraq - KHARMAR — When he speaks, they want to listen. That is how respected Sheik Fares Mohammad Al Taha is to his people of the Al Jehaishi tribe. So when Iraqi Soldiers stopped by to deliver food and water to his village, Taha delivered an unprecedented speech. Addressing many of the village head-of-households, Taha, surrounded by Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers, publicly declared his support for the Government of Iraq along with the Iraqi security and Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Funding Continues to Flow Toward Reconstruction Efforts - CAMP VICTORY — When Gen. David Petraeus outlined his counterinsurgency strategy in 2006, he said money should be used as ammunition. Violence in Iraq is constantly decreasing, which allows commanders on the ground to use that ammunition with greater effect. They are funding projects ranging from infrastructure to small-business development with the commander’s emergency response program (CERP). (READ MORE)

Iraq’s Steel Industry Gets Help from Pittsburgh Expert - CAMP VICTORY — Historically known as the Steel City, Pittsburgh can now boast its supporting role in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq, thanks to an Air Force captain deployed to the Middle East. “What’s happening now in Iraq is obviously there’s a reconstruction need. In the reconstruction need, there’s been a high demand from steel products,” said Capt. Dave Toocheck, a steel industry expert for the Iraqi Strategic Support Cell, Multi-National Force – Iraq. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Soldiers Tackle New Mission - CAMP TAJI — Iraq has seen remarkable gains in security during the last nine months, due in part to the hard work of the Iraqi Army (IA). Until recently the IA only dealt with kinetic-type missions such as kicking in doors, serving arrest warrants, patrolling and defending security sites. However, the continued growth of the IA, both in terms of numbers and operational experience, allows them to take on missions formerly handled exclusively by Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces apply more pressure to Haqqani network in Khowst - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 21, 2008) – Coalition forces killed a militant and detained seven suspected militants during operations targeting the Haqqani terrorist network in Khowst province, Saturday. Coalition forces targeted a compound suspected to host Haqqani network militants in Khowst District. As Coalition forces entered the compound, an armed militant attempted to engage the force. Realizing the threat, the force responded with small-arms fire, killing the militant. (READ MORE)

Secretary of the Army Geren visits Bagram, RC-East - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 20, 2008) — Secretary of the Army Peter Geren visited Combined Joint Task Force-101 at Bagram this week as part of a visit to Afghanistan. Geren assessed the troop’s quality of life and was briefed on operations and recently fielded equipment. He also took time to have breakfast with the troops. (READ MORE)

Soldier receives Army Soldiers Medal for heroism during rescue mission - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 20, 2008) – Smoke rose in thick, dark wisps as bricks, wood and stones lay scattered around a darkened crevice. A charred shell that was once a small vehicle lay nearby and an enormous hole exposed the bare insides of the targeted building. Inside, a humvee turret was lying beside the cabinets of what was once a kitchen, evidence of the deadly force of the explosion. (READ MORE)

Secretary Gates meets with Afghanistan governor - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2008) – Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates, met with Konar’s provincial governor, Sayed Fazullah Wahidi, to discuss ongoing and future plans for the Konar province, during a visit to Afghanistan, Sep. 17. The Konar province encompasses 14 districts and shares a 200 kilometer border with Pakistan. (READ MORE)

Bagram flyboys celebrate 61st birthday - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2008) – The sounds of AC-130 gunships, A-10s and F-15s roaring overhead is nothing new to the Soldiers stationed at Bagram, an Army air field in eastern Afghanistan. In fact, many ground forces here come to rely on the air power their brothers in blue bring to the fight daily. (READ MORE)

Bees get economy Buzzing in Bazarak District - KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 1, 2008) — One hundred fifty bee boxes were delivered to Bazarak District Sept. 17 as part of an overall $180,000 province-wide project conducted by the local government and the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team to help both the local economy and boost agricultural production. (READ MORE)

Taliban commander and five others detained in combined operation - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 19, 2008) – Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces captured six militants, one them a Taliban commander, in Surobi District, Kabul province yesterday. The operation deliberately targeted the Taliban commander and his associates. Elements of the Afghan National Army’s Commando force and Coalition forces, conducted a raid on the known commander’s safe house. (READ MORE)

800 troops arrive to southern Afghanistan - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 17, 2008) – A recent deployment of U.S. forces into southern Afghanistan has added 800 troops into the region, and villagers are the first to see the transformation. Combined with the efforts of Canadian forces, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, the Maywand District is now at its highest level of military support. (READ MORE)

Classes on new M14 take precision marksmanship to new levels - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (Sept. 15, 2008) – Task Force Currahee hosted a set of training classes on the new M14 rifle at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost province during August and September, 2008. The third of four classes began September 8. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, is the first unit in Afghanistan to begin issuing these weapons. (READ MORE)

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