“If you look there, that is one of the Pakistan border positions,” said the Afghan border police officer, pointing across the valley of the Safid Kho Mountain Ranges where a green flag was visible.
The image of the crescent and star weren’t clear, but the 6th Kandak ABP live near it every day, and know the flag well, because they are responsible for this remote Nazyan District outpost.
They had been attacked days earlier, leaving two of their officers dead. The blood that was shed now embedded in the earth mere feet from a reinforced position where they live and fight is now a tragic stain on the rocks. A reminder that the terrains jagged incline was not enough to deter their assailers.
The night of the attack, the border policemen radioed for reinforcement from the Soldiers of Troop B, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat team, who weren’t able to react quickly enough. In spite of the attackers determination, the commitment of the ABP to hold their position and protect their borders proved stronger.
“We need to make sure we can get them the help they need using all our assets,” said Sgt. 1st Class Flint Weathers, a mentor and partner for the 6th Kandak headquartered in Ghanikheyl, Shinwar District.
The two outposts, Nakhtor Now and Shah Khot, are strategic points that extend the ABP’s overwatches of the many trails and passes connecting the Kyber Pass and Hindu Kush.
Operation Mountain Delivery, a joint Afghan and coalition air assault and resupply mission Jan. 23, was a live-action answer to future quick reaction needs.
“Our ability to conduct quick insertions and reinforcement for our Afghan partners in the fight will, ideally, eliminate loss of life,” said Lt. Col. Randall V. Simmons, commander, 1st Sqdn., 108th Cav. Regiment.Neither site had been visited by coalition forces in nearly five years. Simmons and his operational partner, ABP 6th Kandak commander, Col. Niazy did detailed surveys of the outposts and discussed opportunities for improvement.
“The most important thing we can do is be here with them,” Weathers said. The platoon sergeant walked with the commanders and shared the Warrior’s perspective of where the partnership’s next steps should go.
“If we embed with them here and give them that added layer with aerial support, there will never be a question that we are a ready, unified force.”
Additional supplies of water, food and barriers were also delivered with additional provisions delivered during future visits.
“It is a show of force!” Niazy agreed, “a message to our enemies and a reassurance to my men that their coalition partners will be here when they are needed.”
Story by Sgt. Tracy J. Smith