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Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne relaxed in the early morning sun Friday while an AH-64 Apache refueled at Firebase Asadabad. The attack helicopter escorted the CH-47 Chinook helo which inserted about 60 soldiers onto an 8,000-foot ridge for an air-assault mission near the Pakistan border.
Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne relaxed in the early morning sun Friday while an AH-64 Apache refueled at Firebase Asadabad. The attack helicopter escorted the CH-47 Chinook helo which inserted about 60 soldiers onto an 8,000-foot ridge for an air-assault mission near the Pakistan border. (Terry Boyd / S&S)
Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne relaxed in the early morning sun Friday while an AH-64 Apache refueled at Firebase Asadabad. The attack helicopter escorted the CH-47 Chinook helo which inserted about 60 soldiers onto an 8,000-foot ridge for an air-assault mission near the Pakistan border.
Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne relaxed in the early morning sun Friday while an AH-64 Apache refueled at Firebase Asadabad. The attack helicopter escorted the CH-47 Chinook helo which inserted about 60 soldiers onto an 8,000-foot ridge for an air-assault mission near the Pakistan border. (Terry Boyd / S&S)
Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan get on a CH-47 Chinook on their way to an air assault on Friday.
Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan get on a CH-47 Chinook on their way to an air assault on Friday. (Terry Boyd / S&S)
Cool temperatures didn't make using cammo stick any easier as Pfc. Joshua Mealor, left, helped Pfc. Shannon Steele, get ready for an air assault into Afghanistan's mountains near the Pakistan border. Mealor and Steele are scouts with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Cool temperatures didn't make using cammo stick any easier as Pfc. Joshua Mealor, left, helped Pfc. Shannon Steele, get ready for an air assault into Afghanistan's mountains near the Pakistan border. Mealor and Steele are scouts with the 82nd Airborne Division. (Terry Boyd / S&S)

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — Forces at Firebase Asadabad launched several operations Friday aimed at extending their dominance to an area where intelligence reports indicate there are high concentrations of Taliban fighters and other insurgents.

Helicopters from Bagram Airfield inserted about 60 soldiers for an air assault into the mountains near the contested Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Special Forces soldiers and Marines launched operations into northern Kunar Province and into Nuristan Province, according to U.S. officials.

The area where 82nd Airborne Division troops were headed — a hilltop about 8,000 feet into the mountains south of Asadabad — is where a small U.S. Marine Corps force had several major firefights with insurgents in September, said Capt. Brian Feddeler, commander of Company D commander, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

“A month ago, the Marines went in there and got shot up,” Feddeler said.

The Marines went to the insurgent stronghold to try to stop rocket attacks that, at the time, were hitting Firebase Asadabad nearly every day. Such attacks now are infrequent, and his soldiers’ mission is to hunt down insurgents in an effort to ensure they stay that way, Feddeler said.

The air assault force was drawn from 1-505 soldiers, National Guard and 25th Infantry Division soldiers attached to the Asadabad Provincial Reconstruction Team, one of 17 teams located across Afghanistan.

The air assault was both a show of force and a search for insurgent rockets, Feddeler said. In addition, Civil Affairs soldiers from the PRT planned to assess two isolated villages, one of which intelligence reports indicate is controlled by insurgents, PRT officers said.

Soldiers from the 82nd were sent to Afghanistan in late September to augment security for the Oct. 9 elections, which were far more peaceful than expected.

Now, the 82nd is using its rapid-deployment capabilities to help PRT and Special Forces teams eradicate enemy fighters.

“We want to show the enemy force we have the capability to insert troops anywhere,” Feddeler said. “That’s something that’s on their minds ... that we can show up anywhere, anytime.”

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