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U.S. Army Soldiers with Alpha Company, 2-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, fire an 81mm mortar in support of the Afghan National Army during operation Maiwand 10 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Dec. 26, 2017. The Soldiers fired multiple illumination rounds in order to light a nearby area of Marjah where the ANA experienced a nighttime ambush. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)

Photo by Sgt. Justin Updegraff

Eyes in the Sky: Afghan Air assists ANDSF offensive maneuver during Maiwand 10

1 Jan 2018 | Sgt. Justin Updegraff II Marine Expeditionary Force

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have been working diligently and deliberately in northern and southern Marjah since Dec. 23rd, 2017, clearing it of Taliban fighters from the ground and in the air.

With Afghan Tactical Air Coordinator’s on the ground, the ANDSF has been able to successfully integrate Afghan Air assets during Maiwand 10 offensive operations, and also conducted the first dynamic strike with Afghan A-29s in support of ANDSF ground maneuver on Dec. 29.

“Their increasing capabilities are making a tangible impact on the battlespace,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Robert Walters, an air advisor with Task Force Southwest. “This isn’t the first time we’re seeing integration like this but with weeks of planning, training and integrating prior to Maiwand 10, this causing the Taliban to lose ground while the ANDSF take that ground."

Maiwand 10 is a joint operation with maneuver elements from the ANA, National Directorate of Security and Afghan National Police forces.

According to U.S. Marine Maj. Carlos Flores, 1st Brigade Advisor, Task Force Southwest, the ANDSF have shown a lot of confidence maneuvering in areas in southern Marjah they haven’t been able to in the past, while clearing numerous improvised explosive devices from the routes.

“During the last four days of this operation we have managed to successfully clear over 100 IEDs, as well as confiscate useful equipment and weapons from the enemy,” said Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq Hotak, the commander of the 1st Brigade, 215th Corps. “We also took three Humvees and rangers, and destroyed four enemy [operations centers].”

Throughout the operation, advisors with Task Force Southwest have been advising and assisting from multiple locations, working with coalition air or their counterparts on the ground with battle tracking to ensure the ANDSF succeed and reinforce lessons learned with each passing operation.

“[Maiwand 10] is an important operation because we want to clear this area of enemies to provide better education, security and quality of life for the people of Marjah,” said Hotak. “We want to have a safer and a more prosperous area to live. So it is very important and essential to bring such a situation to the people because they deserve nothing less.”

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