Helmand is a large province in the south of Afghanistan, and the scene of a great deal of fighting for a number of years. In July 2009 US, British and Afghan forces launched two major operations centred on the Helmand River valley south of Lashkar Gah. The Kajaki Dam at the head of the river is a key hydroelectric power source for southern Afgfhanistan.
Operation Moshtarak and the Battle for Marjah
Operation Moshtarak is an Afghan-led initiative to assert government authority in the centre of Helmand province. Afghan and ISAF partners are engaging in this counter-insurgency operation at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Helmand provincial government. [PDF 168kb]
Helmand Blog, Major Paul Smyth, UK Forces Media Ops
Afghanistan: Marjah residents take stock after offensive, IRIN, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 16 March 2010
With the exception of small pockets of resistance, Taliban fighters have been driven out of Marjah town in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, but many local people are struggling to return to some kind of normality and are fearful of the future.
“Very skeptical population” …
Pockets of resistance…
War in Afghanistan Evokes Second World War Parallels, Rick Rozoff, Global Research, 7 April 2010
Nevertheless a U.S. officer described the fighting being as tough as that in Fallujah six years earlier. “In Fallujah, it was just as intense. But there, we started from the north and worked down to the south. In Marjah, we’re coming in from different locations and working toward the centre, so we’re taking fire from all angles.”
The offensive was initiated on February 13th and six weeks later it was reported that U.S. and NATO troops were “still coming under fire and being targeted by bomb attacks despite efforts to restore Afghan government control.”
The Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, “said he was puzzled by allied claims that the offensive was a success,” according to the Associated Press, which moreover attributed a further statement of Rogozin’s – “So the result (of the Marjah offensive) was that the mountain shook, but only a mouse was born” – to a “Russian proverb.”
Helmand Province, Military Operations: Briefing Maps, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom (3Mb).
, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Media Roundtable, MSPA 90721/09, 21 July 2009
But we had our Special Forces – I mentioned the incident up by the Kajaki Dam. The Kajaki Dam is one of the hottest spots in Helmand. We had people up there for 28 days. I mean, we have the largest element of Special Forces in Afghanistan other than the Americans. In fact, in ISAF, we have the biggest element of Special Forces. They’ve operated in Helmand, they’ve operated in Kandahar, and our Reconstruction Task Force has gone down into Sarbul and also into Gasnier. We operate where we need to operate. And our Chinooks fly all over RC South. Our Chinooks – there was another report just a couple of days ago mentioned Australian helicopters involved in one of the air assaults in Helmand. We have artillery people in Helmand.
Helmand Province, Wikipedia
Operation Strike of the Sword [aka Operation Khanjar]. Wikipedia
Operation Panther’s Claw [aka Operation Panchai Palang]. Wikipedia,
- Coalition forces: Canada, Australia in Afghanistan
- Coalition forces: United Kingdom, Australia in Afghanistan
- Peace negotiations and truces in Afghanistan, Australia in Afghanistan
- FOB Kajaki (U.K.)
- FOB Armadillo (U.K.)
Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Additional research: Arabella Imhoff
Updated: 8 April 2010