Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New US outpost

Stars and Stripes reports on the new Forward Operating Base Ramrod in the Maiwand district. It seems logical to conclude that the Canadian artillery crew we heard about yesterday will be working out of FOB Ramrod:

New base beefs up Afghanistan presence

MAIWAND DISTRICT, Afghanistan, Sept 22 - U.S. forces are beefing up their presence in southern Afghanistan, building a new base and joining a Canadian task force in an effort to stem a rising tide of violence in the heartland of the Taliban insurgency...

In an unusual arrangement for U.S. forces, 2-2 Infantry has been placed under the command of the Canadian-led Task Force Kandahar. Canada has 2,500 soldiers in the southern province, where it has held overall security responsibility for the past three years.

But the addition of the 800 or so U.S. soldiers nearly doubles the number of combat troops in Task Force Kandahar, said Navy Lt. Alain Blondin, a spokesman for Canadian forces.

"It brings about 70 to 80 percent more in terms of boots on the ground," he said.

The American troops assumed responsibility for their area of operations on Aug. 27. In a statement at the time, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said their mission would be to improve security in the district so that reconstruction and political development can take place.

ISAF officials have identified Maiwand as an important logistics hub for the movement of Taliban fighters, weapons and money... (link)
For the trivial minded, FOB Ramrod shares its name with a forward operating base set up by the US army in 2003 in Husa, Ethiopia. The American forces used the base to train members of the Ethiopian army. (See Word file document here.)

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