NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from 1st and 2nd Commando Kandaks and Special Operations Task Force – East made significant gains in the formerly insurgent-held Konar River Valley, Barg-e Matal district, Nuristan province, during a three-day combined clearing operation, May 1-3.
In the northernmost tip of Nuristan province, just 12 kilometers from the border of Pakistan, Barg-e Matal district has historically been a staging area for the large influx of insurgents traveling into the province. The combined efforts disrupted the insurgent network and removed weapons held in the area.
As the partnered-force set down in three locations along the valley floor, it received immediate sniper, small-arms, and mortar fire from approximately 20 insurgents to the south, east, and west.
Before dawn, May 2, the northernmost teams secured the district center without resistance. To the south of the district center, two separate commando assault elements cleared Bachancha and Badmuk villages, locating a small cache.
In Awlagal village, the operation’s southernmost location, the combined force took heavy fire from insurgents located along the ridgelines to the southeast and southwest. With support from air weapons teams, an estimated 18 enemy fighters were killed and multiple weapon caches were discovered.
On the third day of the operation, the remaining villages within the valley were cleared and key-leader engagements conducted with village elders.
Throughout the day, air weapons teams engaged a sniper position and insurgent fighting position within a cave, killing an unknown number of insurgents.
Fifty rocket-propelled grenades with 12 boosters, 200 pounds of ammonium nitrate, three AK-47 assault rifles, seven bolt-action rifles, more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition, one anti-personnel and one anti-tank mine (both made into improvised explosive devices), 10 mortar fuses and fake commando uniforms were located during the search and were destroyed on site.
No civilians were injured and no property damage was reported.