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Afghan special forces, commandos conduct first independent helicopter assault in Herat

HERAT PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Special Forces and commandos from the 9th Special Operations Kandak conducted the unit’s first Afghan-controlled helicopter assault Sept. 7 in Obeh district’s Shurgerd village.

Afghan soldiers landed just outside of the village and immediately established a perimeter and searched for insurgents.

Although the operation yielded no insurgents or significant weapons, 9th SOK soldiers independently planned and executed the mission. Afghan soldiers searched for enemy fighters suspected of attacking Afghan and coalition security forces in the district.

“The Taliban know they are in for a fight when they see our soldiers, so they run” said Col. Mir Abdullah, operations officer for the 2nd Special Operations Brigade — higher headquarters for 9th SOK. “They are afraid of the ‘red berets’, as they call us.”

The 9th SOK soldiers met with Shurgerd village elders following the search to discuss the village’s security concerns. Elders expressed their gratitude for the kandak’s actions against the Taliban and for the Afghan National Police checkpoint located just outside the village.

“The kandaks are doing their best so that we can have a secure Afghanistan,” said Abdullah. “When we bring peace to the people, we show that all the Afghan forces are ready.”

This operation proves the kandak’s capabilities, and is a positive sign of the progress Afghan National Security Forces have made to provide for their country’s security. Such gains will pave the way for other necessities, such as increased government stability and development programs.

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