OEF Update, Feb. 19, 2010: Operation Moshtarak
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2010 -- Clearance operations continue and are still meeting with some resistance, more so in Marjah than in Nad-e Ali. IED's remain the main threat to the combined force, with some intense small-arms engagements still occurring.
Afghan and British forces are pressing on with clearing operations in Nad-e Ali and the South Bolan Desert while ANSF and U.S. forces clear Marjah. The combined force is meeting determined pockets of resistance in both the north and east of Marjah city.
The main effort has been on clearing IED's and minefields. Another focus is the emplacement of military bridging across the Nahr-e Burgha and Shamlan, enabling the opening of several roads and patrol bases, enhancing freedom of movement.
Stabilization projects are now underway including repairing irrigation systems and establishing local schools. To date, two "schools-in-a-box" have been opened in Nad-e Ali. Each provides support for a teacher and 25 students.
Power generation and road conditions are being assessed in central Marjah, and work has begun to establish a location for the deputy district governor's office. The cash-for-work program is attracting applicants and 250 have already enrolled in Nad-e Ali. The first three employees have been hired to fill some of the 27 vacant posts in the Nad-e Ali governor's office. A total of 952 residents have received materiel assistance from the government, with five families requesting shelter.
The overall situation in central Helmand is considered positive. Several well-attended shuras have taken place the last few days. Shuras will continue, to give voice to local concerns.
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. The security forces involved are serving side-by-side, representing partnership in strength.
(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)