NATO forces claim the first phase of Operation Moshtarak has been a great success.
More that 15,000 troops swept into Marjah and Nad Ail in Helmand province to oust the Taliban from their heartland.
British army Colonel Matt Bazely is pleased with the operation’s progress to date:
“So far it’s all gone really well, no incidents of great concern and now we’ve made our way a short distance north of those areas currently held by the insurgents. The local reaction has been fantastic so far.”
It was estimated that between 400 and 1,000 insurgents were based in the area before the assault.
NATO’s aim is to secure Marjah, which has a population of around 125,000 and then back up the military operation by bringing in aid and public services.
Displaced people and conflict go hand in hand and residents of Marjah who fled the strife are arriving in Lashkar Gah.
However, many of the displaced are unhappy with the living conditions in Helmand’s provincial capital.
One man said:
“We escaped from our area because of the fighting, I am asking our government to help us here, some of my family are sick we medicines and other supplies as soon as possible.“Marjah has long been breeding ground for the Taliban and other groups with its lucrative poppy trade, which the west says, finances insurgent activity.