Task Force Southwest Supports Afghan Forces' Operations
By Marine Corps Sgt. Lucas Hopkins, Resolute Support Headquarters
CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan, June 15, 2017 – Marine Corps advisors with Task Force Southwest continue to support their Afghan forces during offensive operations throughout Helmand province here.
In an operation known as Maiwand Three, the Afghan army's 215th Corps' 1st and 3rd Brigades are clearing the Nad-e Ali and Marjah districts of enemy presence while also resupplying kandaks in the area. A kandak, roughly equivalent to a U.S. military battalion, consists of about 600 troops and is the basic unit of the Afghan army.
"[We've] been planning this with them and facilitating all the planning and coordination. About three days ago, they crossed the line of departure and began executing," said Marine Corps Col. Matthew Grosz, the task force's senior advisor to the 215th Corps.
Providing Mentorship, Guidance
The mission of Task Force Southwest is to train, advise and assist both the 215th Corps and 505th Zone National Police. Although the Marines are not engaged in ground combat, they are still "shana-by-shana," or shoulder-to-shoulder, with their Afghan military counterparts, providing mentorship and guidance, as well as air and intelligence assets.
"We're planning and doing this operation together. When we work together, we can take out the enemy," said Afghan army Lt. Col. Mohammed Sadeqh, the chief of planning operations for the 215th Corps.
Recently, Marine Corps advisors also travelled to Camp Nolay for an expeditionary advising package to support the 3rd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, during operations in Sangin district. Task Force Southwest remains steadfast in its commitment to promote security and stability in the region by, with and through the Afghan forces as they continue to gain traction and build a ready force.
"We've been here two months, and in two months' time, I've seen a lot of improvement in the [215th] Corp's ability to plan and execute independent operations," Grosz said. "These initial steps have been extremely positive … I think there are a lot of gains to be made in future operations."
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