US Marines Help Afghan Forces Retake Nawa District

By Faye Higbee

Military.com reported that with coalition support, Afghan Forces wrested the Nawa District in Helmand Province from the Taliban. Operation Waiwand Four was initiated on July 15, and declared completed on July 17. How’d that go so fast? Lots and lots of air support. And Marines.

Back in April, 300 Marines from 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune  were deployed to Helmand as advisors, and designated as Task Force Southwest. You can read that here:

 

The Taliban overran the Nawa District last August, which raised serious questions of whether or not Afghan forces could hold Helmand.

The District is just west of the capital city of Helmand Province, Lashkar Gah. With Nawa in enemy hands, civilian aircraft were unable to land at the Bost airport nearby, which left the security situation upside down. The airport finally received its first commercial flight in June of 2010, only to have it be too dangerous to use in 2016. Freedom of movement was extremely difficult for the civilians in the area.

Task Force Southwest reported,

Under the watchful presence of an Afghan National Army scan eagle and coalition unmanned aerial systems, F-16s and AH-64 Apaches set conditions, conducted air strikes and covered the flanks of the maneuver elements to decrease the amount of friction felt by the ground forces and allowed freedom of maneuver.

“The air support provided by the coalition forces increased the morale amongst the Afghan Uniform Police personnel,” said Lt. Col. Mohammad Omar, the acting operations officer with the 505th Zone National Police. “Something that they never had in the past fighting with the enemies.”

 “So far during this operation we have seen some significant gains in leadership and maneuver from the Ministry of Interior forces, particularly the Afghan Border and National Police,” said Col. Matthew Reid, deputy commander of Task Force Southwest. “The vast majority of the ABP officers are from Helmand, many from Nawa, and they are aggressively fighting to clear insurgents from Nawa district.”
Translation: they beat the snot out of the Taliban from the skies.
The US and Afghan forces say that Nawa District is a significant area, since most people travelling north to the capital travel through it.
ANDSF forces will set up checkpoints in and out of the district in an effort to keep it from being taken again.