Roughly 300 Marines are preparing to train Afghan troops and national police in marksmanship, indirect fire and small-unit tactics when they deploy to Helmand province this spring, officials said.

These Marines will make up Task Force Southwest, and will train Afghans at the battalion-level while advising and assisting at the brigade and division level, said Maj. Kendra N. Motz, spokeswoman for the task force.

As they train at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, ahead of their deployment, the Marines are familiarizing themselves with Russian-made weapons, including the AK-47, PKM, DShK and RPG-7, Motz said.

The task force consists of experienced, senior Marines, many of whom have deployed to Afghanistan before, said Col. Matthew Reid, Task Force Southwest's deputy commander.

"Make no mistake: Though we are no longer in a combat role in Afghanistan, it is still a combat environment," Reid said. "As Marines, we train and deploy with a combat mindset."

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