Infernal Eternal Devices

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ISAF photo

U.S. Marines and Afghan National Army troops check out a suspected improvised explosive device in Kajaki, Jan. 17.

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The Kajaki district of Helmand is noted for the  Kajakai dam powerhouse, a bombing target of the US Air Force during their attack on Afghanistan in October 2001.

The US has to rebuild what it destroys -- disaster capitalism.  The upgrade of the dam has been billed as the linchpin of the military effort in Helmand, and key to delivering power – and of course influence – in Kandahar. It is a story of a failure. The project to refurbish the Kajaki Dam, is a watershed of waste. The much-vaunted, $266-million dollar project in southern Afghanistan has little chance of being completed on schedule, say both U.S. and Afghan officials.

In late August 2008 a contingent of British, Afghan and ISAF troops successfully transported the third turbine from Kandahar Airbase in Kandahar Province to the Kajakai Dam. The operation was British led and codenamed Operation Oqab Tsuka, meaning "Eagle's Summit" in Pashtu.[7] Despite the turbine being delivered, as of December 2009 it had still not been installed, as its installation requires 900 tonnes of cement which cannot be delivered to the dam due to attacks by the Taliban.

Ten years after the war in Afghanistan began, thousands of Marines pushed northeast from Sangin district up Route 611 in Helmand province in 2011 during Operation Eastern Storm. They tangled with the Taliban in a variety of areas of volatile Kajaki district that had rarely been touched by coalition forces, and engaged in a number of ugly fights along the way.

That operation marked one of the last major offensives for the Marines in Afghanistan. Kajaki is now being turned over to Afghan forces, and the propaganda flows while the dam's electricity doesn't. "Operation New Hope clears insurgent stronghold -- This operation highlights ANSF’s progressive ability to successfully coordinate and task organize different security elements and incorporate Afghan operational solutions to support the expansion of GIRoA’s influence in the area” says ISAF.

The following districts had more than 1,000 attacks in Helmand in 2012: Nahr-e Saraj (3,927), Nad Ali (1,518), Sangin (1,216), Kajaki (1,196), Musa Qala (1,156). I guess the surge didn't work in Helmand.


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