EDITORIAL: Over two years after the drawdown of foreign troops, a group of about 300 US Marines has returned to the ballet-weary southern province of the country. US soldiers have come again to the Helmand province to help the Afghan security forces to nip the evil in the bud. Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson attended a handover ceremony, marking the return of the elite forces, the first American soldiers to be deployed in Afghanistan since 2014. However, the new deployment would form part of Resolute Support’s train, advice, and assist mission. This has been taking place just one day before the Taliban insurgents announced their spring offensive, warning to accelerate its campaign of bombings, ambush attacks, complex attacks and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) operations. Moreover, US administration is evaluating plan to send as many as 5,000 additional troops to the country. The aim of these soldiers is to train Afghan security forces to tackle counter-terror operations against Taliban insurgents, Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh terrorist, and other militant outfits. Since Taliban insurgents are a great threat, so no argument over the deployment would have ground to stand. We want Taliban insurgents to be eliminated from the province as they (Taliban) effectively controls or contests 10 of Helmand’s 14 districts, aided by a huge opium harvest. Poppy is considered as a great source of income for the Taliban insurgents—it has to be halted through clearing the province from their presence. There is no denying to the fact that Afghan forces shouldered complete responsibility for security of Helmand province. The brave security forces did level best in fight against terrorism—no single doubt in their abilities. But now, with this new deployment fighting has to go faster to purge Taliban’s from the province. Sending more troops is a good move—if it bears any result. If security situation of the province didn’t shaken positively, the deployment would be meaningless. Empty steps could not remove militants. Certainly, the Afghan security forces have the heart and ability to stand against all form of insurgency, but the new US Marines should train them how to fight as cohesive units. The security forces are fighting insurgents with high moral and spirit. Security forces have killed a large number of militants across the country. But, Helmand has been remained Taliban’s stronghold for longtime—with this new deployment, the Taliban’s has to be targeted in their strongholds. Security forces have sacrificed a lot in war against insurgents across the country in general, but in Helmand in particular. It means a lot for the Afghan government and people to see Helmand free of Taliban insurgents and other militant outfits.
THE PASHTUN TIMES