Helmand province, Afghanistan --
United States Marines and Afghan National Security Forces filled the air with dust recently as dozens of their vehicles rolled into the desert. Afghan camouflage-painted humvees and small, green trucks with gun turrets led the way into the lower region of the province in search of insurgents.
The Afghan-led operation was a small shaping operation to clear the Taghaz area of southern Helmand in preparation for future counterinsurgency operations to expand Afghan-led security. United States Marines are providing support to the Afghans throughout these operations in order to assist Afghan efforts to expand security, stability and development in the province.
More than 75 U.S. troops, including a few improvised explosive device detection dogs, accompanied roughly 100 Afghan Border Police and Afghan Uniformed Police members during the operation. A majority of those U.S. personnel were the Marines and sailors of Border Advisor Team 1.
The BAT-1 mission was simple: advise their Afghan brothers in arms when necessary, assist with logistics, and accompany their Afghan counterparts on mounted and dismounted partnered patrols.
The operation provided the Afghan members an opportunity to demonstrate for their Marine mentors, and the rest of the world, what they are capable of doing.
Afghan forces detained more than 100 local residents on allegations involving the growing and harvesting of illicit crops, such as poppy and marijuana, according to ABP officials. They also eliminated roughly 90 to 100 acres of hasheesh and confiscated at least 13 tractors in support of the Afghan government’s efforts to prevent illicit crops.
Editor’s Note: Border Advisor Team 1 is currently assigned in support of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 in 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.