Why did ISAF publicize the Marja op?


Soldiers with Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 23th Infantry Regiment inspect their equipment at Camp Tombstone in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The US, British, and Afghan military are preparing for an assault on the town of Marja. Photo by US Air Force Tech Sergeant Efren Lopez.

There has been a lot of controversy over ISAF’s media blitz prior to launching the ongoing operation in Marja in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Here is the explanation given by Major General Gordon Messenger, the top British military spokesman in Afghanistan, from a press release at the British Ministry of Defence website:

There were three reasons for signalling the operation in Central Helmand in advance. First, to give the Taliban a choice. Second, to make the population aware that the operation was about to unfold. Third, it allowed a much greater level of Afghan involvement and ownership, and subsequently Afghan participation.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.



  • Render says:

    I’d bet money on there being at least one more reason…

  • Guptan Veemboor says:

    ISAF had no intention of fighting in Marjah. It wanted to take Marjah with minimum body count of both soldiers and civilian. It was a fight on the conventional type. It new very well that Taliban will never attempt to fight back a conventional war and so will vacate Marjah. What was seen there was not a war but skirmishes.
    The million dollar question is whether the Afghan administration can hold on to Marjah once ISAF and other US forces leave!


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram