11 Jun 2007

PR# 2007-437

ANSF, ISAF unite during Operation Maiwand

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan – The governor of Ghazni province recently met with the commander of Task Force Fury to discuss Operation Maiwand and ways to rid the province of Taliban extremists.

An objective of Operation Maiwand is instilling trust of the government in the local residents.

Marijadeen Pataan, governor of Ghazni province, has a vision of what the province could be.

“Ghazni has a great potential for growth,” the governor said.  “Expanding cities by building roads, shopping centers and thousands of houses will make the province a great place.”  To achieve this, the Government of Afghanistan must deal with the Taliban extremists in the province.

A recent meeting at Forward Operating Base Ghazni brought together Pataan, Afghan National Security Force generals and Col. Martin P. Schweitzer, commander of ISAF’s Task Force Fury, to discuss details of an ongoing operation.

“We must remove shadow governments from Ghazni,” Schweitzer said.  “We have worked together to form a plan to separate the enemy from the population and allow the government to move freely throughout the area.”

The ANA and ANP are doing their part with a stepped up security presence in Ghazni, a main goal in Operation Maiwand, according to Schweitzer. 

“We are one muscle,” he said.  “ISAF and the U.S. will follow behind the ANA and ANP to plant the governmental seeds so the people have a choice.”

Pataan expressed the need for a permanent force to be present to deter any attempts by Taliban extremists to reoccupy areas that will be cleared during the upcoming events.

Along with the presence of ANSF troops to secure the area following Operation Maiwand, an element of ISAF soldiers are being moved to Ghazni, Schweitzer said. 

With multiple agencies at work to provide a secure future for Ghazni, Pataan is determined to make sure there is no chance for the Taliban extremists to re-establish itself in his province.

“This year will be a very bad year for the Taliban,” the governor said.

Schweitzer said, “This year has already been a bad year for the Taliban.”

The colonel noted he did not expect this operation to be a triumph over all the Taliban extremists in Ghazni.

“I’m not going to pretend this mission will declare victory,” he said, “but it will buy time for the government to establish a presence in the area.”

One of the biggest reasons for the level of confidence Schweitzer has in Maiwand is the organization of the plan.

“It is an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem,” he said.  The colonel noted the plan was the brainchild of an Afghan general, not a U.S. commander.

As the meeting ended, the governor thanked Schweitzer for his help and issued his confidence in the ANSF taking the lead role in this operation.

“I do not want to see a single American killed on our fields,” he said.  “We will use our own guys, and I know we will have the upper hand.

“The Taliban kills teachers and burns schools,” he said.  “They are not only the enemy of us; they are the enemy of civilization.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/