Coalition, Afghan forces step up search for explosives, weapons 


Clearing operation 
An Army Special Forces soldier, with Special Operations Task Force – South, scans for enemy activity in Shah Wali Kot District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, during a clearing operation in February alongside Afghan commandos.  The partnered units found 80 pounds of homemade explosives and various improvised explosive device making components on the operation.

On March 23, an Afghan citizen informed Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) that a tractor and trailer passing through Sayad Abad District in Wardak Province was filled with bomb-making materials. Afghan National Police responded to the threat.

Though the driver fled, police searched the trailer and found 10 suicide vests, 17 spools of detonation cord, 30 cell phones and over 272 kilograms of explosive chemicals.

The find, that may have saved many innocent lives and ensures freedom of movement, is the result of a local citizen informing ANSF about insurgent activity. It’s important that Afghans continue to report these activities, an Army spokesman said.

Adding, "You have the right to have peace. Do not allow the insurgents to take your right. Insurgents place the mines on the roads of innocent people and cause injuries and disabilities to innocent people. Do not allow them to implement such actions, which are anti-Islamic and inhumane."

Senior military officials believe this information and the subsequent find of a large amount of materials have prevented a significant attack against innocent civilians that the Taliban are noted for conducting.

This explosives find and removal illustrates a larger trend in security.

Since January, Afghan and coalition forces have eliminated 825 potential improvised explosive devices, 200 indirect fire attacks and 11 suicide attacks.

Between January and mid-March, forces found and removed 163 weapons caches capable of producing the devastating attacks listed above.

In recent attacks on highly populated civilian centers, Mosques, bazaars and malls, insurgents seem to be targeting innocent Afghans.

During his recent speech on the transition of security forces, President Hamid Karzai asked for peaceful resolutions.

"I want the opposition to stop killing the innocent people," he said. "Otherwise, the international forces will be in Afghanistan. As long as innocent people are killed, the international forces will be here."

Since June 2010, ANSF ranks have increased by 6,000 soldiers and officers.

Weapons cache clearance operations have doubled during the same period compared to the previous year. But work continues toward national security.

"This coming year will be very important and significant for us. We will try to bring stability and a peaceful life for everyone. This year will be a year for making more good progress," Karzai said.

Regional Command-East is a NATO-led task force of 30,000 military and civilian personnel from 49 partner nations who assist and support Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in providing security and freedom of movement for Afghans, building infrastructure and fostering economic development.

RC-East is comprised of Bamyan, Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Konar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktya, Panjshir, Parwan and Wardak provinces.