WASHINGTON, June 1, 2008 – Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, N.C., and British forces of Task Force Helmand launched a new operation in the southern portion of Afghanistan’s Helmand province today.
British forces pushed south from one of their forward operating bases to secure routes west of the Marine positions. Marines then used the newly secured British position to push into new areas of the province’s Garmsir district previously held by insurgents.
In the weeks since Marines started operations in southern Helmand, officials said, they have encountered disorganized resistance in more than 100 engagements with insurgents.
The 2,400-strong Marine unit is securing routes through the district to enable the expansion of the Afghanistan government.
In other Afghanistan operations, Afghan forces attacked several enemy extremists May 29 in Helmand’s Nahre-e Saraj district. Extremists attacked the force’s patrol with small-arms fire, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades from fortified positions. Forces called in air strikes to eliminate the enemy. Forces later found and destroyed a cache of weapons and ammunition at the site. No Afghans or U.S. forces were killed in the attacks.
Two militants were detained yesterday by coalition forces in Ghazni province. Forces searched compounds in the Andar district, targeting a militant leader who allegedly has been a facilitator for foreign fighters and has conducted bomb attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 101 news releases.)