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Buffaloes open vital Afghan route

Lancer Bde. teams with local forces to clear Taliban threat, build road for area villagers

117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Hawaii)

Published: 03:20PM August 23rd, 2012
Buffaloes open vital Afghan route

Spc. Tyler Meister

Lt. Reza, commander of the 4th Kandak troops, provides instructions to an equipment operator Aug. 17 near Tieranon in Zharay District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

SHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan — Afghan National Security Forces partnered with International Security Assistance Forces to establish an important route between Zendanon and Kalacha, Aug. 17. The new route should lower travel time for ANSF and coalition forces between the sites and promises to attract local populace back to the area.

Together, ANSF and ISAF built 1,200 meters of road, installed a culvert and improved security in the area by reducing Taliban safe havens and concealment.

The weeklong mission was a joint effort by the Afghan National Army’s 4th Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Infantry Corps and their ISAF counterparts, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment of 2nd Brigade “Lancers,” 2nd Infantry Division, and Alpha Company, 508th Special Troops Battalion.

“Successfully completing the mission is important for the people in the area,” said Lt. Reza, the commander of the 4th Kandak troops on the mission. “Now that the road is finally built, villagers will come back to the area.”

Local villagers requested the road last year to improve the security in the area and resources for the construction became available this summer.

“The Taliban used to hold a presence in the area,” Reza said. “We have pushed them out and connected 2nd and 3rd Kandak.”

The security of the area has been managed by Soldiers of Joint Base Lewis-McChord-based Bravo Company, 1-17th Inf. Bn., the “Buffaloes.” They hold a presence at Strong Point Tieranon, which enabled the Soldiers to fend off numerous attacks since the start of the mission.

“Our Soldiers have cleared the enemy out of the area, making it safe for the locals,” Staff Sgt. Brian Fransen, a platoon sergeant with Bravo Company, 1-17th Inf. Bn., said. “Villagers now have freedom to maneuver throughout the area.”

The route was formerly known to harbor Taliban safe havens and was the site of many conflicts with coalition forces.

“The mission was needed for the safety of our men and the local populace,” Fransen said. “We cleared out many of the Taliban safe havens and forced them to retreat.”

While the Soldiers of 1-17th Inf. Bn. pulled security during the mission, ground operations were overseen by the project manager, 2nd Lt. Tim Dean, a Sapper Plt. leader and Task Force engineer with Alpha Company, 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

“We accomplished the mission and had no casualties,” Dean said. “This new route will increase the overall security of the area and cut off many insurgent avenues of approach.”

Dean said the new route allows Soldiers to patrol the areas around their compounds to help prevent trafficking of weapons and improvised explosive device materials.

Local villagers have begun conversing more with coalition forces in the area and seem pleased with the new road.

Villagers can now utilize the route to work their fields and live with decreased fear of the Taliban threat that used to plague the area.