The United States will send about 300 U.S. Marines to the Afghanistan province of Helmand in order to assist the Afghan security forces in the fight against the Taliban. The unit’s commander said over the weekend that the Marines will assist in intelligence and logistics matters to help the Afghan forces which have had trouble containing the Taliban’s advance in Helmand since the Marines left in 2014.
During a conference call with reporters, Brigadier General Roger Turner said that the deployment would be part of a regular rotation to replace a U.S. Army unit that is already working with forces in the province. Turner also stated that the 300 Marines were braced for a “high-risk mission, despite the fact the group is comprised mostly of experienced and senior officers.
“We’re viewing this as a high-risk mission,” Turner said. “We’re not in any way viewing this as a noncombat mission, or something to take lightly.”
A spokesman for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, stated that the Marines will begin deploying this year and will remain for nine months.
“The Marine Corps has a long operational history in Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand Province. Advising and assisting Afghan defense and security forces will assist in preserving gains made together with the Afghans,” Capt. Salvin said.
Since the U.S. first deployed troops into the region in 2001 following the September 11th terror attacks in order to rid the region of the Taliban, nearly 1,000 coalition troops have been killed in Helmand province, more than any other province.
In the past two years since the U.S. Marines left, the Taliban has managed to capture locations that held battles that were some of the deadliest for our troops. The Taliban has taken Sangin, Marjah, and Nowzad, and have threatened to add the provincial capital Lashkar Gah to their list.
In a statement online, the Taliban stated that the latest deployment of Marines to the area is just one of the “final failed efforts” by President Obama to stop the violence in Afghanistan.