The U.S. military took a major step forward in the ongoing reduction of its presence in Afghanistan April 8, when the last American forces that remained in Nimroz left the province. According to a Marine Corps news release, U.S. Security Force Assistance Advisor Team 4-215 will entrust the Afghan National Army soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 215th corps to maintain order in the region.

4th Brigade demonstrates ability to function on its own
Leaders of the American team expressed confidence that the ANA group will be successful in overseeing the security of Nimroz's people without assistance from the U.S. military.

"We've seen the entire ANA develop at an unbelievable rate, in spite of substantial challenges," said SFAAT 4-215 Lt. Col. Zeigler, according to a Marines Corps news release. "Undoubtedly, they will need to make adjustments to account for reduced coalition support, and will most likely not operate exactly as we've envisioned, but this is precisely the next critical step in their evolution. I believe they will emerge leaner, meaner and more effective than they are now. I look forward to watching them succeed."

SFAAT 4-215 had been training the 4th Brigade in areas of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance. The ANA group's security contributed to the success of the recent Afghan national elections, in which approximately 7 million citizens voted. For the SFAAT, this was sufficient evidence of the 4th Brigade's readiness to operate as an independent unit.

Nimroz's American troops will leave behind just several buildings and structures, which hold equipment such as generators and water tanks that will be passed on to the ANA soldiers. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to finish construction of a base for the 4th Brigade by October.

The future of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan
SFAAT 4-215's departure from Nimroz leaves Helmand as the sole Afghanistan province with an American military presence. In comparison to the turbulent Helmand, Nimroz has been a relatively quiet region requiring minimal support from the Marines, Military Times reported.

The news source also noted that military authorities have stated that in the near future, operations in Regional Command-South – which consists of Nimroz and Helmand – will shift focus toward training, advisory and assistance efforts. Currently, about 4,500 Marines remain in the area, but officials with International Security Assistance Force have stated the intention to reduce U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by more than 30 percent by late October.