Could this holiday season usher in widespread peace in a country riddled with violence over the last ten plus years? Soldiers in one part of Afghanistan are no strangers to the deadly fighting and they say the road to tranquility is blooming.
Patrols for the 117th Infantry Battalion in Kandahar Province are a little quiet these days.
“We’ve seen a lot less Taliban or insurgent influence in the area. We haven’t taken contact in a couple months around here,” First Lt. Chris Persons, with the U.S. Army says.
These infantry guys aren’t complaining. It’s given them a chance to reach out to local villagers and shift their mission to improving Afghan lives.
“It also made me feel good that I finished my time here and maybe made a little bit of a difference in Afghanistan. I’ve been able to help children, different local leaders and that’s a good feeling,” 1st Lt. Persons says.
Fewer Taliban means a safer Kandahar and its showing.
Persons says, “IEDs – there hasn’t been as many new ones put in around here. And we’ve actually started seeing a lot of the locals returning to villages around this area.”
“I’d love to say that every day is the same, but it’s definitely not. There are different challenges; different missions that happen. It also keeps the deployment pretty fresh and easy to go with,” Lt. Persons explains.
It doesn’t mean the end of the war. In fact, it’s not even a guarantee of a safe holiday, but it is a sign of the growing peace in parts of Afghanistan.
What better gift could you ask for?
Troops also credit the expanding role of the Afghan Security Forces for helping develop some peace in the country.
Ian Parker Reporting for Freedom 43