OEF Update, Feb. 20, 2010: Operation Moshtarak
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 20, 2010 -- Fighting remains difficult in the northeast and west of Marjah, but insurgent activity is not limited to those areas. ISAF and Afghan forces remain committed to reducing the possibilities of civilian and combined force casualties.
The commitment to enduring security that will make the real difference to the Afghan people and will allow the expansion of governance from Lashkar Gah to Marjeh and other areas of Nad-e Ali that have not been under government control. A visible demonstration of this long-term commitment is the deployment of Afghan gendarmerie into Nad-e Ali and parts of Marjeh.
About 2,000 people registered for the "Cash for Work" (CfW) program yesterday in Nad-e Ali. Also, local Afghans are increasingly helping to mark improvised explosive device locations.
An empty compound has been identified in Qari Sahib Kalay that would be suitable to house a school and school supplies will be delivered there soon. The Nad-e Ali District governor recorded a radio message to provide a dedicated phone number encouraging insurgents to reintegrate.
Understanding that local people are keen to resume normal daily life, there will be a number of shuras held throughout Marjeh. Local concerns to date have included the availability of food stores, freedom of movement, and the ability to tend to crops and livestock.
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.)