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ANDSF working to destroy Taliban in Nad’Ali; bringing security to local populace

By Sgt. Lucas Hopkins Resolute Support Headquarters

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BOST AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN, Oct. 27, 2017 — Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are working in conjunction to destroy Taliban insurgents in the Nad’Ali district during Operation Maiwand Seven.

A U.S. Marine advisor and joint-terminal attack controller with Task Force Southwest listens in as a UH-60 Blackhawk departs after a key leader engagement at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2017. Task Force and Helmand-based Afghan National Defense and Security Force leadership collaborated to discuss courses of action for the second phase of Operation Maiwand Seven. Multiple elements of ANDSF, including the Afghan National Army 215th Corps, 505th Zone National Police and National Directorate of Security among others are working in conjunction to clear the Nad’Ali district of Taliban insurgents. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
A U.S. Marine advisor and joint-terminal attack controller with Task Force Southwest listens in as a UH-60 Blackhawk departs after a key leader engagement at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2017. Task Force and Helmand-based Afghan National Defense and Security Force leadership collaborated to discuss courses of action for the second phase of Operation Maiwand Seven. Multiple elements of ANDSF, including the Afghan National Army 215th Corps, 505th Zone National Police and National Directorate of Security among others are working in conjunction to clear the Nad’Ali district of Taliban insurgents. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
A U.S. Marine advisor and joint-terminal attack controller with Task Force Southwest listens in as a UH-60 Blackhawk departs after a key leader engagement at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2017. Task Force and Helmand-based Afghan National Defense and Security Force leadership collaborated to discuss courses of action for the second phase of Operation Maiwand Seven. Multiple elements of ANDSF, including the Afghan National Army 215th Corps, 505th Zone National Police and National Directorate of Security among others are working in conjunction to clear the Nad’Ali district of Taliban insurgents. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff) ANDSF working to destroy Taliban in Nad’Ali; bringing security to local populace
A U.S. Marine advisor and joint-terminal attack controller with Task Force Southwest listens in as a UH-60 Blackhawk departs after a key leader engagement at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2017. Task Force and Helmand-based Afghan National Defense and Security Force leadership collaborated to discuss courses of action for the second phase of Operation Maiwand Seven. Multiple elements of ANDSF, including the Afghan National Army 215th Corps, 505th Zone National Police and National Directorate of Security among others are working in conjunction to clear the Nad’Ali district of Taliban insurgents. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
The clearing mission began Oct. 12, and has since proved to the adversaries of the Afghan forces and the residents they protect that the district and its surrounding areas will no longer be a safe haven for insurgent activity.

“ANDSF have made huge gains during Maiwand Seven,” said U.S. Marine Capt. John Quail, the operations advisor to the Afghan National Army 215th Corps with Task Force Southwest. “Their first objective was… clearing the Bolan area, an area that has been contested for as long as we’ve been here on this deployment. They’ve surpassed our expectations from there. They’re conquering ground in Nad’Ali and driving the enemy out in places that far surpass our initial expectations, and what we’re seeing right now is the enemy is leaving in droves out of Nad’Ali.”

Nad’Ali’s close proximity to Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, makes it a crucial area for Afghan governmental influence.

Before the operation, many Nad’Ali citizens were forcibly removed from their homes by the Taliban, but ANDSF efforts during Maiwand Seven are allowing for the residents to begin moving back to the area.

“The local populace is a major concern for ANDSF leadership to make sure they take care of the civilian population and that they don’t do anything to hamper the relationship with the civilians in the area,” said Quail. “The ANDSF leadership met with a large group of tribal elders from the area to put them at ease in conjunction with the operation and to make sure that their operations aren’t hurting the relationship with the civilian population.”

Marine advisors with the Task Force are assisting the Afghan forces through battle tracking friendly movements and providing close air support.

“We’ve seen communication to the point where the coordination is so good with us and their own fire support entities that as soon as we’re conducting strikes, their exploiting the ground within a matter of minutes. And they keep getting better at it,” said Quail.

The National Directorate of Security, 505th Zone National Police, ANA 215th Corps and other elements developed schemes of maneuver to continue supporting one another while enhancing security in Nad’Ali.

“We [were] in a meeting with all the ANDSF pillars, and as advisors, when you can sit back and watch all the different pillars work together and come up with a plan and really be energized by each other, you have to feel good about that,” said Quail.

As Maiwand Seven progresses, Task Force Southwest and ANDSF will continue working together to dismantle the Taliban and reestablish governance and security for the people of Nad’Ali.