POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 9:57pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 9:58pm
Combat Outpost Ware, Afghanistan (U.S. Army) — The sun had yet to rise over the mountains surrounding the Arghandab Valley in Kandahar Province as “Ready First” Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, C Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, prepared for one of their final missions in June. The Soldiers partnered with squads from the Afghan National Army and Afghan local police to patrol the local village of Jeleran.
“The ANA had made coordination to clear the village,” said 2nd Lt. Brandon Arny, 2nd Platoon’s leader. “As they moved through the village, we conducted biometric operations, which is entering individuals into the SEEK (Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit) system.”
As the mission seemed to draw to a close, however, the local forces received reports of an improvised explosive device in a nearby orchard.
“The ANA and ALP located the IED and called us to verify it,” said Arny. “We sent a squad out there with an explosive dog and the mine-hound, and verified that it was an IED.”
In years past, the responsibility for handling the IED would have gone to Coalition Forces. The Afghan forces would have backed away and the U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal teams would have been called in to neutralize the munition. Not anymore.
After the canines confirmed the ANA soldier’s suspicion, the mission was passed back to Afghan forces.
“Their explosive ordnance team moved out to the orchard and blew the IED in place,” said Arny.
According to Arny, the Afghan national security forces have made monumental improvements over the last few years as they strive for greater autonomy.
“The biggest improvement I would say is their willingness to work with each other,” said Arny. “They are both eager to work together to ensure the safety and security of the village.”