An Afghan National Army and US Soldier patrol through Paktya Province during Operation Shamshir III Nov. 29. The operation was meant to degrade the insurgency’s ability to fight by eliminating safe havens and destroying weapon caches. (U.S. Army Photo by 1st Lt. Joshua Starks, Company B, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (December 7, 2011) — Afghan National Army and US Soldiers kicked off a joint mission, known as Operation Shamshir III, in Paktya Province Nov. 28.
The mission, incorporating the ANA’s 3rd Coy, 1st Kandak, and the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, was intended to deny enemy strongholds and destroy caches of weapons and ammunition.
The objectives of their mission were based on intelligence and civil affairs reporting that showed where likely places for strongholds and caches could be found.
Afghan National Army and US Soldiers, acting on these reports, executed a large-scale search that resulted in the seizure of several assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and artillery rounds, thousands of rounds of small-arms ammunition, and materials for making improvised explosive devices.
One lasting effect of the mission is that the elimination of the weapons will make it more difficult for the insurgency to restart combat operations during the upcoming fighting season, said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joshua Starks, Company B, 1st Bn., 279th Inf. Regt., commander.
“Operation Shamshir III was a successful strike on the enemy’s ability to quickly reengage fighting after the winter,” said Starks.
US Army Lt. Col. Chuck Booze, Task Force Creek commander from Norman, Okla., attributed the success of the operation to the local villagers’ negative opinion of the insurgency.
“This is a classic example of the population’s distrust of the insurgency and cooperation with the ANA and coalition forces to rid the area of weapons and IED materials,” said Booze.
“At present, security is the villager’s greatest concern in our area,” said ANA Maj. Gulam Habib, the 3rd Coy commander. “With this successful operation [Afghan National Security Forces] will be able to reduce the enemy’s ability to intimidate and threaten the local population.”