An estimated 300 U.S. Marines are heading to a Taliban stronghold in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, one of the deadliest regions of the ongoing war for coalition forces located along the Pakistan border, reports Marine Corps Times.
The American troops are expected to reach their destination — where the Taliban has largely reversed previous U.S./NATO coalition gains — by the end of this month. Nearly all of Helmand has once again fallen under the control of the Taliban. Helmand sits next to Kandahar province, widely known as the birthplace of the Taliban.
The 300 additional Marines, with the appropriate support, “can absolutely make a difference in Helmand province,” retired Gen. David Petraeus, who served as the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan between 2010 to 2011, told Marine Corps Times.
He added that the Marines’ advise-and-assist mission could provide the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) “the support they need to reverse the momentum of the Taliban in that important province that sits astride the critical ‘Ring Road’ that connects the southern and western parts of the country to Kabul.”