16 May. 2008

PR# 2008-195

ISAF Marines continue operations in Helmand

KABUL, Afghanistan – Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, NATO - ISAF, continue operations 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.

The insurgents have demonstrated a persistent and concerted effort to resist the advancement of troops and to hold ground in Garmsir. The Marines have consistently encountered and defeated disorganized resistance in the form of small arms, indirect fire, and rocket propelled grenades. 

Update to Operations:

Insurgents are forcing Afghan citizens out of their homes.  By contrast, the Marines are allowing families to come back to areas they have secured; however, Marines are cautioning Afghan citizens that it is not safe to return to homes in areas that still have an insurgent presence.

“Local people are being searched by the insurgents before leaving their homes.  We are seeing hundreds of people depart the area,” said Maj Thomas Clinton, Executive Officer, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th MEU.  “The insurgents are using local homes which they illegally seized for use as defensive positions; weapons cache sites; command and control nodes and areas from which to launch attacks on ISAF forces,” he said. 

The 2,400-strong Marine unit is conducting operations in support of the NATO-led 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/