Marine air in Afghanistan has continued to see high operational tempo this year even during the normally peaceful winter months, said the Marine in charge of all air assets in NATO’s Regional Command Southwest.
Taliban fighters usually take the winter off by shelving their arms until Spring or seeking refuge in Pakistan. But Marines have taken the fight to them this winter, forcing their way up through northern Helmand province to Kajaki during months that in years past have been relatively quite, said Maj. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), in a U.S. Central Command news release. That has kept the aircraft that resupply and provide fire support for infantry busy.
By continuing to attack, they seek to keep the Taliban off balance and on the run, he said in a recent interview from Camp Leatherneck. The mission is likely to change however. With preparations under way to transfer authority of the air battle space to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in early Spring, Walters said he anticipates a shift away from counter insurgency toward security force assistance. That likely means letting the Afghan National Army take a bigger lead on the ground.
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