U.S. Marines are back in the notorious Sangin District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, for the first time in more than three years, to teach Afghan troops how to recapture the city that many American forces have died for.
The district has been a point of turmoil in recent months after ground that was hard-won during massive Marine-led operations in 2011 was hastily taken back from the Afghan Army by Taliban forces.
Veterans of the operation to recapture the district during the war have grown irritated with the Afghan Army’s inability to hold the ground that many U.S. troops died to deliver, and on the perceived U.S. mismanagement of Operation Enduring Freedom as a whole.
“When we buried the friends we lost in Sangin, we were told that their sacrifice on the battlefield meant something and that they had lost their lives for a reason. Looking back on how the war was managed, however, it feels more and more like a lie,” said Daniel Sharp, a Marine infantryman who fought to capture Sangin in late 2011 with the 1st Marine Division.
Marines are not back in an offensive combat posture, according to a Marine Corps news release sent last week.
Marines assigned to Task Force Southwest went on a five-day advisory mission to Camp Nolay to teach Afghan National Army troops from the 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps how to recapture the city once again from the grips of Taliban control.
The area is one that is in constant contention due to its location on a route quite frequently used to transport opium and related drugs to fund terrorist organizations.