Sunday, September 24, 2006

Allies restore government, hope in Andar

Afghan Elder
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro Task Force Spartan public affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan – Allied forces delivered a forceful blow to extremists operating in southeastern Afghanistan with the establishment of a district center Sept. 17 in the Andar District of Ghazni Province.

A crowd of around 400 Andar elders, townsmen and farmers looked on as provincial and local officials and allied leaders launched a new era of self-government in a district long terrorized by extremists and foreign fighters.

Task Force Iron Gray launched Operation Mountain Fury, a decisive drive into Andar Province, on the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks, to root out terrorism in the overrun province. Extremist fighters and foreign terrorists seized large swaths of the district over the summer, assaulting and intimidating farmers, townsmen and shepherds.

Following a ground-breaking ceremony, Andar elders and townsmen queried the government and security officials on issues ranging from security, police recruitment and Taliban terror to political corruption, jobs and economic development.

A series of leaders delivered addresses from the podium, most denouncing insurgents and foreign fighters, pleading for unity and cooperation, and touting the Islamic credentials of government and Afghan military leaders.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, Combined Joint Task Force-76 commander, said his 10th Mountain Division Soldiers are here at the request of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to help the people. {Click on image for photo details}
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