DURZAY, Afghanistan --
Following a recent, large-scale military operation in Durzay, Marines are beginning to conduct civil development projects in an effort to improve transportation and security for military units and Afghan civilians in the rural, southern Helmand village.
In January, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Forward), conducted a one-day clearing operation in order to drive out Taliban forces occupying Durzay and surrounding areas.
Immediately following the successful completion of the operation, engineers and heavy equipment operators with Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), constructed two bridges and improved several stretches of road leading into Durzay. Working continuously, approximately 25 Marines with CLB-3’s Engineer Company completed these engineering projects in less than three days.
These combat engineers have conducted several civil development projects throughout Afghanistan’s Helmand province since arriving in Afghanistan last October, but this was the first time they have operated in Durzay. Likewise, many Durzay residents had never seen any coalition forces prior to 2/1’s arrival and CLB-3’s supporting operations.
According to 1st Lt. Elizabeth Stroud, 25, platoon commander, Engineer Company, CLB-3, 1st MLG (FWD), in the nearly 10 years that coalition forces have spent operating in Afghanistan, January marked the first time Durzay residents had seen examples of a U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
“I’ve spoken with many of the residents in Durzay, and they are very thankful for our work here,” said Stroud, a native of Hutto, Texas. “In talking with them, I found that they realize [our] ultimate goal is to provide them with freedom, and that the Taliban has been driven out. We’re also thankful that [the clearing operation] has provided us this opportunity to be some of the first individuals to interact with [Durzay’s] residents.”
Due to the Marines’ interaction and the Afghan citizens’ appreciation for CLB-3’s support, the engineering operation was an overwhelmingly positive experience for both parties.
One local Durzay resident says he feels much safer now that Marines have arrived in his community to help dispel Taliban forces occupying his village. The Durzay resident is a 28-year-old farmer who had never seen any coalition forces prior to January.
“I am very happy with the Marines because they have provided a huge change in this village,” said the Durzay resident, through an interpreter. “The constant patrols and these [projects] will help Durzay. Marines first came here a couple of weeks ago, and already I can see and feel a difference.”