SANGIN, Afghanistan (July 12, 2012) -- Afghan National Security Forces planned and led an operation in Helmand province with Marine support, July 11.

ANSF developed Operation Gospand-Sia to find improvised explosive devices and weapons caches and to prevent the enemy from staging their own operations in the Sangin Valley District.

During the operation, 110 Afghan National Army soldiers from 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, coordinated with 50 Afghan Uniform Police to move between two ANA patrol bases, Gumbatty and Hanjar. About 65 Marines were a part of the operation in a supporting role.

The operation was scheduled for 48 hours, but ANSF destroyed several IEDS and one weapons cache and cleared all of their objectives in less than 16 hours. There were no ANSF casualties.

"The purpose of the operation was to continue with the transition phase and have the host nation security forces take over all combat operations in the area. This was the first time for the ANSF (in this region) to take the led on planning, coordination and execution," said Capt. Robert Jones, commanding officer, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6. "I was very impressed because the ANSF had a plan going into the operation and stuck to it."

Jones, from Phoenix, said ANSF leading in Operation Gospand-Sia and all future operations in the area is an important step in security transition to Afghan forces.

"It shows that the ANA are able to run (battalion)-level operations with the support of the AUP," Jones said.

First Lt. Brett Howard, operations officer, Alpha Co., said the ANA decided to plan the operation after identifying a hot bed of enemy activity in the region.

"The ANA came to the conclusion that something had to be done in the area," said Howard, from Orlando. "It