ISAF soldier dies of non-battle injury ISAF News Release #2008-214 ISAF Marines build trust, support in Garmsir
28 May 2008

PR# 2008-214

ISAF Marines build trust, support in Garmsir

KABUL, Afghanistan – Since launching operations in the Garmsir district, Marines continue to conduct patrols in villages they have secured and increase interaction with the Afghan population.

Afghan citizens have demonstrated their support for ISAF troops by pointing out to Marines insurgent acts of violence, which include: damaging foot bridges in their village, occupying their houses without their permission, putting explosives around their fields and stealing their food and possessions. 

“The insurgents don’t have the means to fight their own war and so they steal and intimidate the Afghan citizens they would have believe they are there to help,” said Colonel Peter Petronzio, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer.

Since Marines have been in Garmsir, Afghan citizens have not only come forward with gifts of thanks and information, they have also brought their sick and injured for treatment, typical signs of increased trust and support.

“The Afghan citizens hold the insurgents responsible for the hardship they impose.  In almost every conversation with Afghan citizens, when asked what they need they state, ‘security’.  The only criticism the Marines have received is that they are ‘moving too slowly’ and they are wanted to ‘kill the Taliban,’” said Col. Petronzio. 

There has been much speculation in the media about displaced people from the Garmsir area; official estimates are that no more than 4,000 have temporarily moved out of the area, the majority of them before the start of the operation.

“Naturally, we regret any families who have left their homes, but once we have re-established Afghan government control they will return and will enjoy a better quality of life free from the oppressive regime of the Taliban,” said Brigadier General Carlos Branco, the ISAF spokesman.

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