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US marines return to Helmand, launch mission

US marines return to Helmand, launch mission

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Apr 29, 2017 - 20:30

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): US soldiers from the Marine Corps have returned to southern Helmand province to help Afghan forces combat a resurgent Talibaninfo-icon.

The marines arrival brings to an end the 18-month US military mission in Helmand as part of a troop rotation performed at a ceremony at the Shorab Military

NATOinfo-icon and US forces top commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon General John Nicholson and the acting Afghan chief of army staff Lt. Gen. Mohammad Shareef Yaftali, Helmand Governor Hayatullah Hayat and military council members attended the handover ceremony,

215 Maiwand Military Corps commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ahmadzai told the gathering the US Task Force mission led by Gen. Sims had been effective in advising and training Afghan forces in Helmand.

He said the US forces had been providing air support during the 18-month mission and desired complete coordination between the US marines and Afghan forces.

US forces deputy commander in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson, said the Taliban tried their best to capture Helmand’s capital last year, but their design was frustrated by Afghan security forces.

He assured the US forces would continue to support Afghan security forces in defending the Afghanistan soil.

Outgoing US army commander in Helmand, Brig. Gen. Sims, said during his mission the Afghan security forces were provided air support and advise in areas such as Bolan, Basharan and Nad Ali. He said the 215 Maiwand Military Corps’ forces had strengthened in terms of educationinfo-icon and training.

Meanwhile, US marine forces’ commander in Helmand, Brig. Gen. Roger Turner, also spoke on the occasion, saying they would carry forward their mission in coordination with the governor and military council.

He said the Afghan forces would be provided education and training, air support and needed assistance in other security sectors based on their request. He expressed happiness over jointly working with the Afghan security and defence forces.

The US marines will arrive in stages in Helmand and their number will eventually reach 300 as part of the NATO’s Resolute Mission.

sns/ma

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