Fort Lewis' 5th Brigade deployed to Taliban's birthplace

Soldiers from Fort Lewis’ 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division officially assumed responsibility Sunday for parts of southern Afghanistan, replacing a thinly stretched Canadian military force.

The 3,900-member brigade, the largest unit from Fort Lewis to deploy to Afghanistan since the war began, will patrol eastern, northern and western Kandahar province, according to the Canwest News Service. The province, Afghanistan’s largest, is the birthplace of the Taliban and has proved exceedingly difficult to tame.

Canada has about 2,000 combat troops stretched across the entire province. They’ll be reassigned to fighting the Taliban in the provincial capital and three outlying districts.

The Canadian force will continue to lead the construction and development effort.

The 5th Brigade is responsible for beating back the Taliban insurgency that has strengthened in recent years. The soldiers also will secure voting areas Aug. 20 for the country’s second presidential elections, in which President Hamid Karzai is running for a second term.

Scott Fontaine, The News Tribune