first published on February 24, 2018 by Josh
In February of 2010, troops from around the world would muster to prepare for the beginning of Operation Moshtarak. Moshtarak in Dari is the word used for together or joint. The purpose of this operation was to bring the ISAF and Afghan forces together to conduct an operation that would drive the Taliban out of their lost stronghold in Helmand province. Moshtarak is also known as The Battle of Marjah. Troops from America, Afghanistan, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, and Estonia all participated in the battle, which was spearheaded by the United States Marine Corps. The operation is known as the largest scale offensive operation conducted in Afghanistan after the initial fall of the Taliban.
While the battle was initially successful in removing the Taliban from control in the area, the fighting in Marjah and the surrounding territories was far from complete at the conclusion of the operation. The failures of the Afghan government and ISAF to set up a working local government in the area initially caused a massive resurgence of Taliban fighters. The Taliban were deploying thousands of fighters to the area in order to conduct insurgent operations against the occupying ISAF and Afghan forces. 90 days after the completion of Moshtarak, General McChrystal would famously refer to Marjah as a “bleeding ulcer.” In October of the same year, the area would be known to ISAF as troubling. In December of 2010 however, most of the fighting would come to a conclusion as ISAF and Afghan forces finally gained control of the area and put a proper government in place.
At the bottom of this article is fresh drone footage that has surfaced on the internet from Operation Moshtarak. The footage was recorded on an RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle. It shows a multitude of strikes against Taliban positions from a number of different air support platforms. According to the source, the drone was operated by Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-3, and it was used to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to International Security Assistance Force troops on the ground.
The drone itself is a small aircraft that is pneumatically launched from a catapult mounted trailer. Its gimbal-mounted, digitally stabilized, liquid nitrogen-cooled electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera is used from a high elevation to relay footage in real time via a C-band line-of-sight data link to a ground control station. This information is then relayed over to commanders who are controlling ground operations, and the information is distributed to troops that need the information to make decisions in battle. When the drone is finished working, it returns to base and is recovered with the aid of arresting gear, similar to jets on an aircraft carrier.