Insurgent attempts to fight back have failed. The most notable failure was Sunday’s attempted car bombing and suicide bomber attack near the Municipality in Gardez City, Paktya prov. Afghan police, who were warned of Sunday’s failed attack through recent intel reports, were in a state of high alert. An observant Afghan policeman noticed the suspicious vehicle, and signaled for the driver to stop. The driver then detonated his car bomb, which was followed by the attempted suicide attacks. Afghan police killed the 3 suicide bombers before they could detonate their vests, potentially killing dozens of innocent civilians. No injuries were reported from the car blast.
The cmdr. for all CF in Paktya and Khowst, Col. Chris Toner of the 3rd BCT, 1st ID, TF Duke, commended the police for their efforts to protect the people of Gardez. “These brave police heroes caused the insurgents to fail in yet another attempt to kill civilians and destabilize the area,” said the Kansas native.
"A trip to Ashterlee is a 2-day drive from the regional police HQ near Kandahar, during the summer months (fighting season), while completely impassable roads in the winter make face-to-face engagements impossible," Steele continued. "When we meet with district police officers they're extremely happy to meet regional staff whom they otherwise know only by reputation. They quickly burst out with stories about their community. The regional officers steer the conversation toward security concerns. My interpreter always needs a lozenge after the 2-hour rapid-fire exchange." While Khan and Steele were meeting with local police officials, Miller and Clark were busy inspecting all aspects of the ongoing project, including a generator, fuel tank and submersible water pumps necessary to complete the work. Miller conducted vigorous discussions with the contractor, underlining contract requirements the contractor had to meet. "It's important for us to get out to these remote sites, because the Afghan contractors perform better when USACE eyes are put on the project," said Clark. "Ashterlee will see exponential industrial growth in the next few years, and the corresponding, mostly non-local work force will demand tangible security," said Steele. "The walled summit complex, the new district police HQ, is an icon of security and GoA sovereignty." "When people in the area see facilities like this HQ, they see that security is improving," Khan said. "I've seen great improvements over the last 3 to 4 years. The coalition has helped us a lot."
Through the years, govt, non-govt, and military orgs., have assisted Afghans in restoring the agricultural climate through watershed projects in various regions. A watershed is a landform with highpoints and ridgelines that descend into lower elevations. After rainfalls and snowmelts, the water flows down into soil, groundwater, creeks and streams, to larger rivers, eventually channeling into the sea.Members of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan (GPFA), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Soldiers from the 2nd Bn, 5th Inf Regt, 3rd Bde, 1st AR Div, TF Bobcat, visited Sra Kala village in the Sayed Abad district, Oct. 11, to assess a watershed selected to undergo restoration this winter. “There's a need for water, and watershed programs can increase the water supply and improve the ecosystem,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Davis, mortar plt. leader and bn. civil affairs officer, 2nd Bn. Since 2010, the GPFA has launched 17 small water projects in 19 villages in Wardak Prov. In partnership with the GoA, USAID and other agencies, the GPFA water projects have affected more than 15,000 families in the prov. “In 2008, we travelled to different provs. like Wardak and Logar,” said Thomas Bevier, field program officer with USAID. “Throughout many studies we heard the same theme from people who worked on farms, and it all came back to water.” “The civil affairs cell conducted assessments and found there was an over-demand on natural resources,” Bevier said. “There's a critical water shortage, and we looked to different solutions, one being to re-establish watersheds. In a country where 85% of the population relies on agriculture as their main source of income, restoring the watersheds could help rebuild the economy," Bevier said. “The great thing about this program is that it’s not temporary. It can create trees, rivers and grasslands,” said Davis, a Calif. native. “The area could start seeing results in just 5 years. In 10 years, there'll be large trees, more water and more arable land.” To generate local interest in the watershed program, GPFA members engage local and provincial leaders, as well as farmers, and teach them different ways to increase farm productivity. Jawid Ahmad, a GPFA member program support services mgr., is glad to be a part of the project and help his community. “In the past there were lots of forests in Sayed Abad. The hills were covered in trees,” said Ahmad. “Nothing is impossible if we try to get back to that level. We just need to support and to teach people how to do that.” A key component to the program is community involvement. The locals will be actively engaged in the restoration process, by working the land and planting grass and trees. “The watershed project will employ the locals,” Davis said. “They'll work the land, and have property rights to the land as long as they keep working it.”“It will provide them dignity, a sense of accomplishment and pride in themselves,” Bevier said. “The quality of life will get better. It will lead to a capacity to rebuild the economy, and increased health, but the key thing is hope. It will give them hope.”
NorthBAGHLAN PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor captured a Taliban leader, during an op in the Baghlan-e Jadid district, yesterday. The leader distributed funding and supplies for insurgent activity, and conducted attacks against Afghan forces in the region. South
HELMAND PROVINCE — A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor killed multiple armed insurgents and detained numerous suspected insurgents, during an op in search of a Taliban facilitator in Kajaki district, yesterday. The facilitator leads subordinate fighters in attacks against helicopters, RPGs, heavy machine gun, and roadside bomb attacks. He also directs fighters to attack CF during search ops. The SecFor was engaged multiple times with small arms, sniper and mortar fire. Responding to the direct threat, the SecFor returned fire, killing the insurgents. Multiple AK-47 assault rifles were seized following the engagement.ZABUL PROVINCE -- A coalition SecFor discovered an IED weapons cache in Shah Joy district, yesterday. The cache consisted of 3 remote controlled IEDs with a total of 114-lbs (52 kgs) of homemade explosives, 2 82 mm recoilless rifle rounds, and IED making components.
NANGARHAR PROVINCE -- In Sherzad district, a combined Afghan and coalition SecFor killed an insurgent and detained multiple suspected insurgents, during an op in search of a Taliban leader, yesterday. The leader operates in both the Sherzad and Khugyani districts, and is involved in ambush attacks against Afghan forces.EastPAKTIKA PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor carried out a precision airstrike in Gomal district, killing 2 insurgents, yesterday. The target of the op was an insurgent network leader who plans and conducts attacks against CF in the Sarobi and Orgun districts. KHOST PROVINCE -- In Manduzai district, a combined Afghan and coalition SecFor detained multiple suspected insurgents, during an op in search of an insurgent network leader. The leader plans and participates in attacks against Afghan forces. PAKTIYA PROVINCE -- A combined Afghan and coalition SecFor captured an insurgent network leader and one additional suspected insurgent, during a security op in Ahmadabad district, yesterday. The network leader directed insurgents in roadside bomb and suicide attacks.
UMM QASR – Marine Col. Erick Thomas, officer-in-charge, Marine Central Command Coordination Element-Kuwait and Wash. resident, spoke to IqMTT-03 about this historic moment during their last formation. “Your mission is now complete,” said Thomas. “You're the last Marine team to have officially helped train the Iraqi Marine Corps.”“Over the past 5-1/2 months, you’ve shown the Iraqi Marines what honor, courage and commitment is,” said Thomas. “The Iraqi Marines have a huge responsibility ahead them. Because of your team, and others before, the Iraqi Marines are ready and trained.”
After the formation, the team took a moment to gather for some final photos together, to mark a piece of history, and to reflect on what they've accomplished. “Our mission was to train and advise the Iraqi Marines, in order to enhance their capabilities to accomplish their mission,” said Maj. Monte Powell, team chief of IqMTT-03 and Ill. native. “We've trained over 1,200 Iraqi Marines, and conducted over 500 combat patrols within the area of Umm Qasr.”"The team also introduced the Iraqi Marines to vessel procedures, such as basic visit, board, and search and seizure techniques with the Iraqi Navy," said Powell. "Other accomplishments include conducting AK-47 weapons qualification, night vision training, vehicle control point, and entry control point techniques. In the role of advisors, the team worked closely with both the Iraqi Navy and Marine counterparts. As the last OND Marine team, Powell and his fellow Marines are proud of this moment. “The Iraqi Marines are a force that is self-reliant and able to accomplish their mission within the Iraqi armed forces,” said Powell. “The Marine Corps warrior ethos and spirit is cemented with the Iraqi Marines.”
A team of 13 Marine Corps trainers left here, Oct. 14.
Maj. Monte Powell, team chief of Iraqi Marine Training Team 03, and Okla. native, takes charge of his 13 Marine trainers, during a final formation.
The team of 13 Marine Corps trainers gather for a photo.