Tuesday, February 16, 2010

High price for Operation: Moshtarak

Some 15,000 troops are currently involved in Operation: “Moshtarak” (Together), the most ambitious effort yet to break the militants’ grip on Afghanistan ’s dangerous Southern region. It is the biggest joint operation since the 2001 US-led invasion of the country. The town of Marjah has become a focal point of the operation and on Sunday, US Marines and Afghan forces waded through intense sniper fire and a sandstorm that reduced visibility to a few feet.

Unfortunately during this battle, two rockets fired by a NATO High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) accidental struck civilian houses killing twelve civilians, 10 of whom were from the same family.

NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal ordered all use of the rocket system to be stopped while there was a possibility of civilian casualties. The general telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to apologize for what he called the "unfortunate incident" and the latter called for an investigation. Civilian casualties are particularly sensitive during the joint NATO and Afghan Operation Moshtarak to force the Taliban out of their strongholds in Helmand.
Gen Aminullah Patiani, the Afghan Army's senior commander in the operation, told AFP news agency later on Monday "all of the areas of Marjah and Nad Ali have been taken by combined forces. They are under our control". He added: "The Taliban have left the areas, but the threat from IEDs [improvised explosive devices] remains." Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade commander said it could take weeks to completely reclaim Marjah, routing all insurgents and clearing IEDs.

Meanwhile on Monday a NATO air strike against suspected insurgents in Kandahar killed five civilians. The group was seen digging on a roadside and was thought to be planting bombs, NATO said. The incident is unrelated to Operation Moshtarak. ISAF deputy chief of staff Maj Gen Michael Regner USMC said "We regret this tragic accident and offer our sympathies to the families of those killed and injured. Our combined forces take every precaution to minimise civilian casualties and we will investigate this incident to determine how this happened."

Colonel “Whopper” Creedon, who is currently on detached service in the region with US Special Operations Command spoke some hard facts about the tragic civilian losses early Monday morning. ”There are always casualties in war” he began “otherwise war would be no more dangerous than a nasty argument. There are projected acceptable losses for both our forces and civilians, but we’ve not come close to that threshold yet so were technically doing great.” Creedon was then asked about whether an operation was being planned to free the two French journalists kidnapped recently in Afghanistan. “French?” Creedon grimaced, then he smiled “There are always casualties in war…”


Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, if you're in Afganistan, who the hell is protecting us from the space aliens?!

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

UNETIDA Civvy. It's a large military operational entity with personnel from almost every UN member country at this point. Specifically, Lieutenant-Colonel "Puck" Plante formerly of the CSOR [Canadian Special Operations Regiment] is the current Deputy Special Operations Commander for UNETIDA and he's perfectly capable of handling any "issues" that may arise while my expertise is required elsewhere. You're in safe hands I assure you - DON'T PANIC!

Civilian Overseer said...

You misunderstand my dear Colonel, I just like to know who to bribe when it all goes pear shaped! ;)

Still, as long as this Colonel Puck doesn't cancel any spending on those secret black ops projects We talked about, then everything will be ok. Gotta keep the Osprey flying.