CAMP LEATHERNECK, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — Afghan national security forces partnered with International Security Assistance Force personnel launched Operation Moshtarak in central Helmand province early this morning to clear insurgent forces from the region in and around Marjah and set the conditions for the return of the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
Approximately 2,000 Afghan national security forces personnel took part in the operation, partnered with nearly 5,000 Marines and sailors from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and elements of the U.S. Army's 5th Stryker Brigade, 4-23 infantry battalion. Marine Aircraft Group 40 and Task Force Pegasus, the Combat Aviation Brigade of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, provided assault support and other aviation support for the mission.
"Marjah is the last enemy sanctuary in the Marine area of operations," said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, 2nd MEB commanding general. "This operation is designed to reconnect the people of Marjah with the legitimate government of Afghanistan. We are fully partnered with the Afghan government for this operation, and we have the resources we need to be successful."
Second MEB is a subordinate unit of NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The combined U.S. and Afghan mission is to provide security for population centers throughout Helmand province and connect local citizens with their legitimate government and security forces.