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Afghan Army, U.S. Marine Operation Helps Secure Konar Province

American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2005 – Afghan National Army forces and U.S. Marines killed more than 40 enemy combatants during an offensive operation over the last few weeks in the districts of Chawkay, Asadabad, Pech and Narang, in Afghanistan's Konar province.

The ANA and Marines fought side by side in 29 separate engagements against the enemy, disrupting hostile activity during Operation Whalers. The operation's purpose was to disrupt enemy forces in the area and to clear the way for successful elections, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials said.

"The ANA have demonstrated their abilities with great success," said Marine Lt. Col. James E. Donnellan, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "The willingness and professionalism of the ANA to engage the enemy will ensure success for the security of Afghanistan."

Lt. Col. Nasir, commanding officer of the ANA battalion, also said he was proud of the courage shown by his Afghan soldiers. Afghan soldiers have made many sacrifices to fight for a democratic and free Afghanistan and, with the help of coalition forces, they will win the war on terrorism and defeat the enemies of Afghanistan, Nasir said.

Afghan and U.S. forces worked in close coordination with local leaders regarding the mission, meeting several times with Provincial Governor Wafa during the operation. Wafa also broadcasted several messages on local radio stations explaining the purpose of the operation.

Civil affairs and medical personnel also ensured Afghan citizens in the area received medical treatment and an opportunity to prosper and improve their lifestyle. U.S. forces brought much-needed supplies, humanitarian and civil assistance to some of the local residents.

Wafa said he expects this operation to encourage former enemies of Afghanistan to reconcile and join Program Takhim-e Solh, the Afghan government's reconciliation program, so they can participate in the democratic process of rebuilding the country.

"The enemy continues to learn the hard way that U.S., coalition and Afghan National Security forces will continue to be relentless in their search for and destruction of the enemy," Army Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, Combined Joint Task Force 76 commanding general, said.

"In a few weeks, the people of Afghanistan will elect a National Assembly, which will constitute a vote against continued violence and suffering and a vote for a free and prosperous future," Kamiya said. "The enemy, too, has choices to make: to peacefully and honorably reconcile with Afghanistan's national government and become part of Afghanistan's brighter future, or to continue to live in the shadow of continued military confrontation, violence, death and defeat."

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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