OEF Update, Feb. 25, 2010: Operation Moshtarak
Dispatches from the Front:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2010 -- Shuras outnumbered military engagements the last few days. At the invitation of Helmand governor Gulab Mangal, Nad-e Ali deputy district governor Haji Zahir held a shura in Marjah attended by 200 residents.
The deputy district governor spoke about improving security conditions and said that more Afghan National Police would be posted in Marjah. He promised to ensure the opening of shops and clinics, and personally oversaw the distribution of rice, beans, cooking oil and sugar to the gathering.
New shops have opened at bazaars in Marjah, with new products such as telephones, computers and other electronics being offered alongside fresh fruits and vegetables.
There has been a significant increase in the number of local residents returning to the area. This is accompanied by a decrease in the number of residents registering as internally displaced persons. Yesterday only 144 families registered, down from 165 the day before.
Occasional small-arms engagements are still being reported. Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks remain the greatest threat to civilians and security forces. There has been a nearly 50-percent increase in the number of IED tips by residents. This is in addition to a greater number of IED turn-ins in central Helmand. Both of these trends are contributing to greater safety and security for civilians and combined forces in the area.
(From a NATO International Security Assistance Force news release.)