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Officials Note Operation Moshtarak Progress

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Feb. 23, 2010 – Signs of steady progress in development and governance are evident in the central part of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command officials said today.

In a daily update on Operation Moshtarak, which began in the region Feb. 13, officials said bridges, roads and culverts are being repaired, bazaars are re-opening and attracting customers, and a variety of initiatives are being planned or implemented.

Officials said six projects are ongoing, and 18 are planned in northern Nad-e Ali under the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture Plus program. Meanwhile, educators and school officials are discussing a training program that will promote reading, writing and arithmetic skills among young people who are addicted to drugs or have previous affiliations with the insurgency, officials added.

Afghan and combined forces continue to encounter “small, but determined pockets of resistance,” often from bunkers or other fortified positions, officials said. Though roadside bombs remain the greatest threat to security forces, they added, the combined force continues to make headway in clearing operations to enable improved governance and development.

New patrol bases are being established as Afghan forces assert greater authority in Marja and Nad-e Ali. A new patrol base is operational at 5 Ways Junction and a new police base is being built in southeast Marja, officials said.

Clearing operations are on track and enabling greater freedom of movement for civilians and security forces alike, officials said. Task Force Helmand's engineers continue to upgrade roads in their area of operations, enabling more effective delivery of stabilization supplies.

(From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news release.)

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