KABUL, Afghanistan (Dec. 17) – Coalition forces currently conducting operations in Marjeh, as well as Afghan citizens, are seeing noticeable improvements in the former Taliban stronghold.
In a recent Pentagon press brief, Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commanding general, Regional Command Southwest, stated that combat operations against Taliban forces in Marjeh are essentially over.
In February, coalition forces conducted a large-scale offensive in order to drive out Taliban forces occupying the rural community. Though coalition and Afghan forces continue to experience isolated resistance from Taliban insurgents, units operating in the area are conducting humanitarian operations and enhancing security measures to ensure the continued welfare and safety of Marjeh's residents.
According to one Marjeh resident, 24-year-old Sharif, shopkeepers and farmers feel much safer since coalition units began operations in February.
"Before they got here [in Marjeh], it was dominated by the Taliban,” said Sharif, through an interpreter. "I also remember when American forces first came here [in 2001]. The whole country was dominated by the Taliban. Since then, the government, the economy and our safety have greatly improved. The U.S. government helped us to fix a lot of problems [the Taliban] caused.”
Coalition forces will continue to train, advise, mentor and prepare their Afghan counterparts to assume exclusive control of their own country prior to the gradual withdrawal of coalition forces.