April 28 This day during the Afghanistan War

April 28, 2008 – The Battle of Garmsir was a battle between U.S. Marines and other ISAF coalition forces, and Taliban insurgents in Garmsir, southern Afghanistan. It was part of the ongoing Helmand Province campaign. By the end of December 2007, the situation on the ground reached a stalemate. A de facto border was established east of Garmsir along the banks of the Helmand River that divided British-held from Taliban-held territory. The British were outnumbered by the larger Taliban force which was receiving reinforcements from Pakistan. However, the British had jets and heavy artillery on their side. Both forces fought in the following months for mere yards of territory. In early 2008, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, under the command of Col. Peter Petronzio, arrived to reinforce the ISAF’s fight. In April 2008, Col. Petronzio sent a battalion of U.S. Marines to Garmsir. 1st Battalion 6th Marines the battalion landing team for the 24th MEU started their combat operations with an attack on the Taliban-held town of Garmsir on 28 April. The operation was carried out in conjunction with British troops of the 16 Air Assault Brigade. Taliban forces withdrew from the town as a result of the assault and took up a position further south. After seizing Garmsir, the Marines pushed further south into an area where the insurgents had built bunkers and tunnels capable of withstanding coalition airstrikes. They ran into stiff resistance and the operation, expected to take a few days, lasted more than a month to complete. This alerted the ISAF commander that the town was important to the insurgents, so he ordered the Marines to remain in the area, rather than clear the town and leave. He was also concerned that the Taliban would emerge after the Marines left, falsely claiming that they had run ISAF forces off.With the original mission changed, the Marines transitioned from combat operations to civil operations. The 24th MEU commander Colonel Peter Petronzio focused on protecting the local Afghans as they began to return to their homes after having been displaced by the Taliban. The Marines also continued their combat operations in the area, killing more than 400 insurgents between April and July 2008, according to governor Gulab Mangal.

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