OEF Update, Feb. 15, 2010: Operation Moshtarak
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 15, 2010 -- The clearing phase of operation Moshtarak continued yesterday, with the combined forces conducting a number of mounted and dismounted patrols. Elements of the combined force have been engaged in periodic small arms fire fights, and a number of insurgents have been either killed or detained. The combined force has sustained some injuries.
Two rockets from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launched at insurgents firing upon Afghan and ISAF forces impacted approximately 600 meters off their intended target, killing 12 civilians in Nad Ali. The use of HIMARS has been suspended until a thorough review of this incident has been conducted.
At 10 a.m, a joint press conference was held in the city of Marjah, Helmand province. Helmand Governor Mangal, Brig. Gen. Zazai, commander of 205 Atal Corps, and Afghan Defence Minister General Wardak spoke to local and national media. Gov. Mangal gave an update on the operation, mentioning combined force casualties, insurgents killed and captured, and the discovery of a 250 kilogram cache of explosives.
Three successful shuras were held, including a large shura in the Shawal Bazaar, which was an ANSF-led event; a second Shura held in Naglabad to hear local issues and concerns; and a third Shura held in Loy Adara. Local level meetings with residents were also carried out today.
Multiple incidents led to IED and weapons cache finds by ANSF and ISAF troops. In Task Force Helmand, an engineer maneuver group continues the clearance of minefields and is in the process of building a bridge over the Nahr-e Baughra Canal.
The goal of Operation Moshtarak - a Dari word for "together" - is for the combined force (ANA, ANP, ISAF and the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team) to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in asserting its authority in central Helmand, thereby demonstrating the Afghan government's commitment to the people living there.
The operation is being conducted at the request of the Afghan government and the governor of Helmand. Security forces involved are serving side-by-side, representing partnership in strength.
(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)