Saturday, October 10, 2009

Combat Engineers Provide Peace of Mind for Afghans

Ever since the first raid in July on the Lakari Bazaar in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, which turned up thousands of pounds of bomb making materials and drugs, the Taliban has continued to use it as a staging area. From this staging area, the Taliban has conducted more than 20 attacks on coalition troops in the vicinity from there. In an effort to combat this, more that 300 British troops conducted a second raid on the bazaar. In the raid they received fire from enemy positions and the threats were soon eliminated. To make sure the Taliban does not reclaim the bazaar again after the troops withdraw again. US Marine combat engineers constructed a patrol base less that one-mile away from the bazaar. After it is done being constructed, Afghan National Army soldiers and Marines will occupy the basses in an attempt to disrupt Taliban activity. “The base will give (2/8 Marines) an opportunity to project their influence on the Lakari market,” said platoon commander 2nd Lt. Mark H. Tetzel. Construction of the base started at 2 am when they arrived from their operating base for than 40 kilometers away. In order to give the base more protection from vehicle born IEDs, a 13-foot tall dirt berm was constructed around the compound around an already existing wall to create a standoff area. Building these posts and bases in the middle of towns and open desert takes a lot of moving parts. This build alone used the efforts of several units. Two Combined Anti-Armor Teams and Marines lead the 37-vehicle engineer convoy from their operating base. At the convoy’s tail, 60 Afghan National Army troops in vehicles provided rear security. Throughout the engineers’ deployment, they’ve built four observation posts, seven combat outposts of various sizes, and three patrol bases in Helmand province. After about 60 nonstop hours of working, the engineers completed the build next to the bazaar. After completion the Marines moved into the base with some afghan army soldiers in attempt to give other local Afghan people the freedom to shop and sell at the bazaar without the fear of the Taliban. Click Here For Story

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