CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Combat Logistics Battalion 6 and 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), are pushing north on Route 611, building patrol bases, combat outposts and village stability platforms in support of Task Force Leatherneck and Operation Tofan Sharq (Eastern Storm).
Coalition and Afghan National Security Forces are involved in the major offensive operation to root out the Taliban-led insurgency in the Upper Sangin Valley region of Kajaki. Their efforts are securing Route 611 from Sangin to Kajaki, allowing safe travel along the route once littered with improvised explosive devices for local residents, Afghan government officials and coalition forces.
“We will run combat logistics patrols on this route in order to resupply the forces [of Task Force Leatherneck],” said Lt. Col. Ralph J. Rizzo, commanding officer of CLB-6.
An increased coalition and ANSF presence on the road has already helped to deter the Taliban from inhabiting these key areas of Helmand.
The structures being built along Route 611 benefit coalition forces and ANSF alike. According to Lt. Col. Daniel H. Dubbs, 7th ESB commanding officer, these structures will be a place where Marines and their Afghan counterparts can conduct operational planning and take some needed rest.
“With a constant presence in the (Upper Sangin Valley), Kajaki, and along Route 611, coalition forces have the ability to maintain overwatch of critical infrastructure, interact with (local Afghans) and elders, and provide the civilian population with security,” said Dubbs.
Village stability platforms are specifically designed to protect local populations from dangerous insurgent activity and host key leader engagements where village elders and senior coalition leaders meet to ensure village needs are being met.
“Freedom of movement for the Afghan people will mean greater access to commerce and trade, which are critical to development and stability,” said Rizzo.
Combat logistics patrols have already experienced a great change in the way (local residents) react to us, (like) people waving and children giving thumbs-up,” he concluded.