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Yesterday, Gov. Gulab Mangal travelled to Marjah to observe Operation Moshtarak. During his visit an Afghan flag was raised over the town, and the governor met with some of the combined-force service members who are conducting counter-insurgent operations. Subsequently, the governor travelled to Camp Bastion to visit with injured civilians from Marjah. He was accompanied by Deputy District Governor Haji Zahir, three Marjah elders and members of the local Afghan media.
Mangal held a shura yesterday to discuss the security situation in Nad-e Ali to present his plans for the way ahead. Local support for the operation seems to be holding throughout the area of operations.
While the combined Afghan-ISAF force continues clearing operations, planning and preparation for the transition to the hold phase is underway. The transition to hold will be conditions-based.
In Marjah, some insurgents are reportedly leaving the area, although a number of enemy fighters remain and continue to engage Afghan and ISAF forces in direct combat. Combined forces have taken control of some key areas and efforts to control insurgent movement have been relatively successful.
In northern Nad-e Ali, repairs have begun to a major tributary canal that brings water to the village. Also in northern Nad-e Ali, a shura was held during which local Afghans identified immediate needs for the community. Discussions were held yesterday between the combined forces and local Afghans to determine which compounds might be used as patrol bases in the future.
Elsewhere in Nad-e Ali, emerging stabilization activities include the delivery of a "school-in-a-box" to Naquelabad Kalay.
Additionally, 250 people signed up for the Cash-for-Work program to repair a drainage system and construct a new footbridge.
The goal of Operation Moshtarak - a Dari word for "together" - is for the combined force (ANA, ANP, ISAF and the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team) to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in asserting its authority in central Helmand, thereby demonstrating the Afghan government's commitment to the people living there.
The operation is being conducted at the request of the Afghan government and the governor of Helmand. The security forces involved are serving side-by-side, representing partnership in strength.