FAIRBANKS — The region where 4,000 troops from Fort Wainwright are deploying is home to Afghanistan’s second-largest city and some of the most intense fighting the country has seen in the last year.
The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division recently relieved a Canadian unit that served in the southeastern provinces of Kandahar, Zabul and Uruzgan. Their mission is to assist the Afghan government and train Afghan military and police forces. About 80 percent of the Stryker soldiers have now left Fort Wainwright for Afghanistan. Some are already working in Zabul province, as seen in recent photographs provided by a U.S. military photographer.
The capital of the region the soldiers will be serving in is Kandahar, a city of about 486,000 that was a former Taliban capital and is the hometown of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Last month, the city was the site of a prison break that freed about 480 inmates through a 1,000-foot tunnel, according to a report from The Associated Press. This week, the Taliban launched an attack on eight government compounds in a failed attempt to gain control of the city.
Col. Todd Wood, commander of the Strykers from Fort Wainwright, warned of increased attacks at the brigade’s deployment ceremony because soldiers are arriving during the Taliban’s traditional spring fighting season. He said his troops are prepared for the challenge.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.