KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A four-day operation conducted jointly with Afghan security forces and Soldiers with Combined Task Force Spartan, in Kandalay in eastern Zharay district, resulted in killing multiple insurgents, detaining several suspected insurgents, and three large weapons and explosive caches discovered.
The operation, which started Sept. 25, initially began when Afghan security and coalition forces Soldiers discovered a cache of homemade explosive material at a compound, and also detained the men occupying the compound, one of whom is a known Taliban leader and direct subordinate to a Taliban leader responsible for insurgent operations in eastern Zharay district.
Afghan soldiers also found several “night letters” distributed to houses in Kandalay, renouncing villagers who joined the local community-based security organization. The soldiers immediately started distributing letters to counteract those distributed by insurgents.
Night letters are letters distributed by insurgents, usually under the cover of darkness, to intimidate a local population from assisting or working with Afghan security or coalition forces.
The next day, village leaders and elders from Kandalay held an emergency shura to discuss the community-based security program. Also, Soldiers from CTF Spartan’s 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, scheduled an education shura with the headmaster of the Pir Mohammad School and other key influencers from Kandalay and Senjaray.
Part of the operation’s success was due to Reconnaissance Soldiers from 2-87 who were placed in key positions in eastern Zharay district. The team engaged several insurgents with mortars and TOW missiles, killing at least five insurgents.
On day three of the operation, the joint element cleared enemy compounds in the neighboring village of Kalacha, and found a homemade explosives lab and several small weapons caches. Local officials recognizing the improved security due to ongoing operations, officially opened a school in Habib in Zharay district, where 30 schoolchildren attended on the first day of school.
On the last day, Afghan security and coalition forces Soldiers breached and cleared into known enemy bed-down locations, as well as interdicting a cache consisting of 150 pounds of homemade explosive material, two complete pressure-plate IEDs, 500 pounds of hashish, and two 82mm recoilless rifle rounds.
When the joint element tallied the results from the 96-hour long operation, the net total was two complete pressure-plate IEDs, nine hand grenade fuses and grenades, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, several expended large shell casings, two 82mm recoilless rifle rounds, five jugs of homemade explosive material, and a British Enfield Mark 4 rifle.