30 Apr. 2008

PR# 2008-170

UPDATE 2: Marines launch operations in southern Helmand

KABUL, Afghanistan – Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) and the British forces of Task Force Helmand continue operations in southern Helmand Province.

Below is an update to the ongoing operation:

Marines continue to clear areas in the Garmsir district. Through the capture of a series of identified enemy strong points and defensive positions south of Task Force Helmand forward operating bases, Marines continue to open the previously denied routes through Garmsir district to the economically vital Helmand green zone.   

Marines have encountered light, disorganized resistance in the form of small arms and indirect fire and rocket-propelled grenades. 

“I think the most telling aspect is an Afghan citizen of Garmsir had no qualms about bringing his wounded child to a newly-established Marine position where Marines were heavily armed,” said Colonel Peter Petronzio, commanding officer, 24 MEU. “Here is a man who has first-hand experience of life under the Taliban. He knows that with them there is no offer of hope, no plan and no future. He knows we are here to help.”

Marines are here to secure routes through the district to enable the extension of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The 2,400-strong Marine unit is conducting operations in support of NATO’s ISAF.  The MEU is a Theater Task Force, a position which allows the commander of ISAF to rapidly deploy the MEU wherever it’s needed to conduct full-spectrum operations from humanitarian assistance missions to combat operations.

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/