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    Marines visit injured Delaram mayor after attempted assassination

    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Afghanistan traveled to a local Afghan hospital May 22, 2009 to visit Abdullah Jon, mayor of Delaram, Farah province after a failed assassination attempt by suspected Taliban insurgents.

    The mayor was shot a total of three times in his extremities and lost a significant amount of blood when he arrived at Forward Operating Base Delaram, where he was treated by U.S. medical personnel.

    After the mayor was in stable condition, he was transported to Camp Bastion for further treatment. He was eventually transferred to an Afghan national army hospital in Kandahar province where he was visited by SPMAGTF-A Marines.

    "You are here to provide security for the people of Afghanistan, and I am thankful for that," said the mayor through an interpreter to Lt. Col. Patrick C. Byron, SPMAGTF- A executive officer. "As long as I am still walking, still alive, I am here to serve my Afghan people, my country."

    "It takes a brave man to stand up against that," said Byron. "You set a great example for your people."

    Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment have been operating in Delaram for the last seven months, conducting partnered patrols with the Afghan national police to improve security in Delaram. Prior to the Marines' arrival, Delaram had a significant Taliban presence.

    "We are thankful for the Marine Corps in Delaram and happy with the job they are doing," said Jon. "I am thankful because the Marines are working hard and honestly."

    Marines with 3/8 have effectively interacted with the Delaram community, along with the ANP, as they expanded dismounted patrols to prevent illicit trade and reinforced security, according to Lt. Col. Jeffrey C. Holt, SPMAGTF-A operations officer.

    Holt depicted the Taliban in Delaram as a "wounded animal ... even a wounded animal can be dangerous," as was proven on the latest attack on Delaram's mayor.

    During Byron's visit with the mayor in the hospital room, he said, "over the last couple of days, some people said you died." The tough mayor replied, "That is the enemy's tactic to undermine the government and to weaken morale — that is their propaganda."

    Jon also took the opportunity to deliver a message to the people of Delaram. "I am at an Afghan national army hospital in Kandahar, and I am fine and well," he said. "The enemies who attacked me are spreading rumors that I was dead ... I am very thankful for the help of the Marines. While I am alive, I will continue to do my job ... I am not afraid that I was attacked. From the first day I took this job, I said I am going to either die or I am going to serve and defend the people."

    U.S. Marines will continue to partner with the ANP to help provide security in Delaram as 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment replaces 3/8 in the area. The incoming unit will carry on the same mission as 3/8 — conducting counter insurgency operations with a focus on training and mentoring the ANP in order to provide security for the Afghan people.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.26.2009
    Date Posted: 05.26.2009 05:26
    Story ID: 34091
    Location: KANDAHAR, AF 

    Web Views: 1,153
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