SOUTHERN SHORSURAK, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan --
The relationship between the Marines and Afghanistan National Army, and the Afghans in Southern Shorsurak, Afghanistan, reached a new level when more than a dozen men met with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and ANA leadership for a shura to discuss concerns, as well as determine what type of civil affairs projects the area would benefit most from as part of Operation New Dawn, June 26.
New Dawn is a joint operation between Marine Corps units and the Afghanistan National Army to disrupt enemy forces, which have been using the sparsely populated region between Marjah and Nawa as a safe haven.
The local men showed great interest in Capt. Luke Pernotto’s desire to construct deep-water wells in the area. Pernotto, the Lima Company, 3/3, commander and commander for the battalion’s ground force in Operation New Dawn, worked with representatives from the local population to determine the best placement for the wells and to try to find a local contractor to hire for the project.
As enthusiastic as the Afghen men were at the prospect of new wells, they were more interested in diverting water from a nearby river to their canal systems. Pernotto acknowledged their plan without guaranteeing its completion. Diverting the water is a more complex project that will take coordination throughout the region, while ensuring water diverted to Southern Shorsurak won’t harm another area.
Haji Abdullah Jan, a local farmer, said he attended the meeting after hearing about it through word of mouth and said he thought it went well.
“The most important thing is to get both more irrigation water and drinkable water here,” he said.
The Marines have already begun finding a contractor from Nawa and are narrowing down the location of the first well.
As Operation New Dawn continues, the Marines and ANA will continue to patrol the area and work with the locals, while maintaining their defensive blocking position for Taliban fighters trying to move through the area.