Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Successful security operations lead to development in Arghandab river valley

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Six months ago, the Arghandab River Valley, home to approximately 70,000 Afghans, lacked the security needed for aid agencies to begin governance or development projects. But now, the determined, combined efforts of ISAF and Afghan national security forces are paying off for the people of the valley.

Soldiers from the U.S. 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, along with members of the Canadian Operational Mentor and Liaison Team, ANSF, Special Operations Forces, and ISAF air units, have collaborated in successful operations designed to protect Afghans from the insurgents.

"It has been a total team effort," said Col. Harry Tunnell IV, commander of the 5th Stryker Brigade.

Despite frequent attacks by insurgents in the Arghandab Valley, troops from ANSF and ISAF pushed ahead with the "shape, clear, hold, build" approach to counter-insurgency operations. Ground and air units carried out operations to protect the population in the area and prevent further insurgent attempts to disrupt development within the region.

Tooryalai Wesa, the Governor of Kandahar province, held a shura on November 5 to announce the introduction of the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture program in Arghandab District. The AVIPA program is designed to improve farming techniques, modernize agriculture equipment and deliver work projects that employ local citizens.

"The most apparent indicator of success is that Arghandab District was the first area that was announced in Kandahar province for the USAID [United States Agency for International Development] AVIPA program," said Col. Tunnell.

Since the announcement, initial agriculture assessments have been made, training of local farmers has started, and local work projects have begun in the fertile area of the Arghandab River Valley.

With ISAF and ANSF counter-insurgency operations preparing the way for development, progress can safely come to the people of Arghandab District.