The United States plans to send three hundred U.S. Marines to Afghanistan. The step will be taken in order to help Afghan security forces battle the Talibans.
Afghanistan: Marines To Be Sent
These three hundred Marines will be sent to the country’s Helmand province to help Afghan security forces in intelligence and logistics. This is the first time the Marines will be deployed to the southern province since they left in 2014, when the U.S. concluded its combat mission in the area.
However, Washington is still supporting Afghan security forces in the form of air strikes and multiple advisers. The Afghan forces have been trying hard to take control of the Taliban advance in Helmand, according to Reuters.
Brigadier General Roger Turner commented that the U.S. Marines will be sent to be part of a regular rotation. The task is also to replace a U.S. Army unit posted to train and aid Afghan troops in the province.
The three hundred Marines will consist mostly of seasoned and senior officers assisting on intelligence, logistics, and administration. Turner informed that they are getting ready for a menacing mission.
“We’re viewing this as a high-risk mission,” Turner said. “We’re not in any way viewing this as a noncombat mission, or something to take lightly.”
Several U.S. Marines have been fighting dangerous battles against the Taliban in Helmand for more than five years. Almost a thousand coalition troops have been killed in Helmand since the American military intervened in 2001.
Afghanistan: Current Scenario
The areas the Taliban controls are the most dangerous battlegrounds for the Marines. These areas including Sangin, Marjah and Nowzad. In 2016, the Talibans also threatened to take the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.
NBC News reported that the U.S. and NATO officially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014. However, this present deployment is being looked at cautiously. Many are confused if the deployment will have a significant impact on the conflict. Reactions came from civilians of the Helmand province.
“If [Marines] come only to give advice, it will not help. If they take part in fighting, there may be some progress. Without that, there will be no change,” a village elder from Helmand, Abdul Ahad Masoomy, told NBC News.
In addition, even the Talibans were ridiculing the deployment. The Taliban officials said in a post that the deployment will act as one of the last failed attempts by outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama to create violence in the country.