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Winter is coming: ANDSF resupply forces in Marjah during Maiwand 8

By Sgt. Justin Updegraff Resolute Support Headquarters

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LASHKAR GAH, AFGHANISTAN, Nov. 27, 2017 — With winter in full swing, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces continued offensive operations to expand the security belt around Lashkar Gah and ensure their personnel have what they need to continue to fight through the winter.

Brig. Gen. Safi, the Helmand Province Chief of Police, weighs-in during a security shura at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2017. The Afghan National Defense and Security Force key leaders talked about Maiwand seven, eight, and future operations, all with a goal to increase stability throughout the province in preparation for the elections in 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
Brig. Gen. Safi, the Helmand Province Chief of Police, weighs-in during a security shura at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2017. The Afghan National Defense and Security Force key leaders talked about Maiwand seven, eight, and future operations, all with a goal to increase stability throughout the province in preparation for the elections in 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
Brig. Gen. Safi, the Helmand Province Chief of Police, weighs-in during a security shura at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2017. The Afghan National Defense and Security Force key leaders talked about Maiwand seven, eight, and future operations, all with a goal to increase stability throughout the province in preparation for the elections in 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff) Winter is coming: ANDSF resupply forces in Marjah during Maiwand 8
Brig. Gen. Safi, the Helmand Province Chief of Police, weighs-in during a security shura at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2017. The Afghan National Defense and Security Force key leaders talked about Maiwand seven, eight, and future operations, all with a goal to increase stability throughout the province in preparation for the elections in 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin T. Updegraff)
During Maiwand eight from Nov. 18 - 21, 2017, the ANDSF successfully conducted a clearance and resupply operation in Marjah.

“The purpose of Maiwand eight was to conduct resupply operations for the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Civil Order Police kandaks within Marjah, and then the Deputy Chief of Police and his forces down in the district center needed to be resupplied for the winter,” said Maj. William Tomaszek, an advisor with Task Force Southwest. “So all the forces can get their food, water, blankets, mattresses and winter uniforms so they can operate and be active out there.”

The planning phase was well coordinated between the participating units, with security shuras held at the 505th Zone National Police headquarters and the 215th Corps headquarters.

“They spent a couple days up front, loading supplies, but then they sent a unit out initially to clear the route and it took them just several hours,” said Tomaszek. “The force never took contact as they traveled along the route clearing several IEDs and obstacles to get to Camp Bazaar, the location for one of the kandaks. So day one was a huge success for the ANDSF forces, within three hours they were at Camp Bazaar, a route that was highly contested when we first got here.”

Coordination between all the units was paramount during Maiwand 8. The Operational Coordination Center – Provincial bridged that gap, tracking the locations of the units and communicating with and providing air assets if necessary.

“During Maiwand eight, the [Operational Coordination Center – Provincial] was focused on the coordination between the different entities,” said Capt. Matthew Somers, an advisor with Task Force Southwest. “Maiwand eight was a large operation between multiple entities including Afghan Border Police, ANCOP, Afghan National Police, National Directorate of Security, and the ANA.”

Somers also says that the OCC-P acted as a node between all those pillars to be able to coordinate with different assets in and around the area.

“There was a lot of coordination to be able to utilize air assets from the ANA, and not just for the ANA,” said Somers. “There was a point we had an injured ANCOP policemen, and he was able to be evacuated to safety with ANA air through the coordination that happened here at the OCC-P.”
Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Ghani, the executive officer of 215th Corps, went out to see his men during the operation and said that they detected and cleared more than 60 improvised explosive devices while clearing a route to Marjah.

“This operation was important because we repaired and opened up destroyed roads and bridges for the civilians to use again,” said Ghani. “We also showed the enemy that we are strong and can strike at any time, and by delivering winter supplies, we also improved the morale of the personnel at the kandaks.”

According to Tomaszek, Maiwand eight was a significant success, from the initial clearance of the route to the follow-on convoy, and served as another demonstration of collaboration between the 505th Zone, the 215th Corps and the NDS forces.