KABUL, Afghanistan (April 27, 2010) - Gizab district, locked centrally in the Hazarajet region of Afghanistan, recently was the scene of community resolve and determination when citizens took action to remove a Taliban threat from their village.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with minimal involvement by coalition forces, is assisting Gizab residents in their effort to purge the Taliban from the area.
With harassment by the Taliban increasing, local villagers held a shura and decided to establish a road block Wednesday in an effort to detain insurgents. This action led to the apprehension of several insurgents as well as their weapons and motorbikes. A Taliban commander, responsible for coordinating attacks against coalition special forces in the area, was among those apprehended at the road block.
Later that afternoon, Taliban insurgents armed with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades were preparing to attack the village. Local citizens, defending their homes and families, engaged the insurgents in a battle that lasted more than three days.
A combined patrol of Afghanistan National Security Force and International Security Assistance Force partners was conducting an operation nearby and responded, enhancing security at the village stronghold.
After three days of fighting, the insurgents were defeated and driven out of Gizab. Between the villagers and combined patrol, several insurgents were killed and four were arrested.
In the subsequent days, hostile action in the area has diminished, providing an opportunity for the governor of Dai Kundi, the provincial governor of neighbouring Uruzgan province, the local Malik, and 20 other community leaders to travel to Gizab district for a meeting to announce their support for the Afghan government and elect a district chief of police.
The combined force also attended the meeting Saturday to demonstrate their support for the people of Gizab and the Afghan government. The combined force was warmly received by the villagers and leaders who said they were grateful for government support.
During the meeting, the deputy governor placed a phone call to President Hamid Karzai, who spoke to local elders and leaders and voiced his pleasure with the cooperation between the different elements, which ultimately removed 50 active Taliban fighters from the region.
"The villagers' decision to react was fueled by Taliban members routinely exerting their influence and control over the people in the southern district of Gizab," said Capt. Rebecca Lykins, a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan spokeswoman. "Their reaction is a testament to their confidence in (the government's) ability to protect and serve the populace."