KABUL, Afghanistan (Feb. 17) - The military phase of Operation Moshtarak remains on track. The insurgents are tactically adept, have resilience and are cunning, so continued tactical patience on the part of the combined force is important. Mining is significant in areas, and the combined force must be very deliberate in its movement in order to minimize local Afghan and combined force casualties.
On the ground, the conduct of Operation Moshtarak is visibly demonstrating that the force has changed the way it operates and that it is working with and for the people of Afghanistan. ISAF is operating in support of the Afghan Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In the Marjah area, the ANSF and U.S. Marines saw sustained but less frequent insurgent activity today, experiencing limited small-scale attacks. In northern Nad-e Ali, the combined force continues to dominate population centers and conducted detailed clearing operations at key junctions and on routes along the kalays.
The use of HIMARS weapons systems was suspended Feb. 14 while a review was carried out regarding the incident involving 12 civilian casualties in Marjah. The review is still ongoing but it has been determined that the HIMARS weapon system functioned properly, and use of the HIMARS weapons system has been reinstated.
While the Department of Refugees and Returnees has registered 940 families - only five have requested shelter. The department continues to distribute food and aid in Lashkar Gah. No major movements of local residents have been reported so far today.
The goal of Operation Moshtarak - a Dari word for “together” - is for the combined force (ANA, ANP, ISAF and the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team) to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in asserting its authority in central Helmand, thereby demonstrating the Afghan government’s commitment to the people living there.
The operation is being conducted at the request of the Afghan government and the governor of Helmand. The security forces involved are serving side-by-side, representing partnership in strength.