It has been less than three years since U.S. Marines began their departure from Afghanistan’s problematic Helmand province, but they are back again, this time as advisors. Task Force Southwest, a 300 Marine contingent has returned to train and advise afghan forces against problems within the region, according to reports.
The advisor team consists of Marines from units across the Corps and will have no role in combat operations. The new unit on the ground will not affect numbers in Afghanistan, however. The Marines will be replacing an Army task force of similar size and disposition who have also been laying the groundwork for advisors coming and going throughout the country. Throughout the region, Afghan forces have battled the Taliban without much success since NATO operations came to a standstill a few years earlier. Hard won battlefields like Sangin have in recent months fallen back into enemy hands, and the Afghan government fears that more control may be lost. The task force’s primary mission is to ensure that no territories completely fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.
Marines will be living and working out of a compound known as Camp Shorab, which was formally known during the war as Camp Bastion, and was home to many U.S. and British Marines and soldiers.
“We are excited to be back in Helmand, and we’re pleased to assume this mission,” said Task Force commander Brig. Gen. Roger Turner Jr.