Game On


NATO launches major Afghanistan offensive

U.S.-led NATO troops launched a major offensive on Saturday against the Taliban’s last big stronghold in Afghanistan’s most violent province, a test of President Barack Obama’s troop surge strategy.

The assault, the first since the U.S. president ordered an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in December, is the start of a campaign to impose government control on rebel-held areas this year, before U.S. forces start to withdraw in 2011.

“The offensive in Marjah has begun. Our company is preparing to secure key terrain to facilitate stability and security for the people of Marjah,” Lt. Mark Greenlief of Bravo Company, First Battalion, Sixth Marines, told Reuters.

A dozen helicopters flew from south of Marjah in Helmand province and the first objective of U.S. Marines was to take the town center despite the risk of being blown up by bombs rigged by the Taliban.

“So far there has been no contact,” Gunnery Sergeant Brandon Dickinson, waiting in a muddy field, told Reuters.

The U.S. military said about 4,500 U.S. Marines, 1,500 Afghan troops and 300 U.S. soldiers were taking part in the offensive.

The operation, codenamed Mushtarak, or “together,” may have been labeled as such to highlight that NATO and Afghan forces were working closely to bring stability to Afghanistan, a country battered by decades of conflict.

See also:
U.S., allies attack Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan
U.S. Marines attack Taliban-held town
Coalition Begins Major Afghan Offensive
U.S. Starts Afghan Surge
Before day breaks, NATO troops descend on Taliban stronghold
US says Marines, Afghan troops launch main attack on Taliban-held town of Marjah
US, Afghan troops encircle Taliban stronghold
Civilians flee besieged Afghan town ahead of US-Afghan assault

So initial reports have it that the Taliban up and ran away with the civilians, probably wearing burkas.

/48 hour rule in effect

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One Response

  1. Get some, Marines!

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