So Much For The Cakewalk


Apparently, the Taliban are getting their second wind and, as usual, our rules of engagement are forcing us to fight with one hand tied behind our back.

Taliban allow US troops very little advancement in Marjah

Sniper teams attacked US Marines and Afghan troops across the Taliban haven of Marjah, as several gunbattles erupted on Monday, the third day of a major offensive to seize the extremists’ southern heartland.

Multiple firefights broke out in different neighbourhoods as US and Afghan forces worked to clear out pockets of Taliban and push slowly beyond parts of the town that they have gained control of. With gunfire coming from several directions all day long, troops managed to advance only 500 metres deeper as they fought off small squads of Taliban snipers.

“There’s still a good bit of the land still to be cleared,” said Capt Abraham Sipe, a Marine spokesman. “We’re moving at a very deliberative pace,” he added.

Troops: Strict war rules slow Afghan offensive

Some American and Afghan troops say they’re fighting the latest offensive in Afghanistan with a handicap — strict rules that routinely force them to hold their fire.

Although details of the new guidelines are classified to keep insurgents from reading them, U.S. troops say the Taliban are keenly aware of the restrictions.

“I understand the reason behind it, but it’s so hard to fight a war like this,” said Lance Cpl. Travis Anderson, 20, of Altoona, Iowa. “They’re using our rules of engagement against us,” he said, adding that his platoon had repeatedly seen men drop their guns into ditches and walk away to blend in with civilians.

If a man emerges from a Taliban hideout after shooting erupts, U.S. troops say they cannot fire at him if he is not seen carrying a weapon — or if they did not personally watch him drop one.

And, in the better lucky than good department . . .

U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan

It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

“I don’t think I could be any luckier than this,” Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

Lance Cpl. Koenig’s brush with death came during a day of intense fighting for the Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment.

The company had landed by helicopter in the predawn dark on Saturday, launching a major coalition offensive to take Marjah from the Taliban.

The Marines set up an outpost in a former drug lab and roadside-bomb factory and soon found themselves under near-constant attack.

Lance Cpl. Koenig, a lanky 21-year-old with jug-handle ears and a burr of sandy hair, is a designated marksman. His job is to hit the elusive Taliban fighters hiding in the tightly packed neighborhood near the base.

The insurgent sniper hit him first. The Casper, Wyo., native was kneeling on the roof of the one-story outpost, looking for targets.

He was reaching back to his left for his rifle when the sniper’s round slammed into his helmet.

The impact knocked him onto his back.

“I’m hit,” he yelled to his buddy, Lance Cpl. Scott Gabrian, a 21-year-old from St. Louis.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian belly-crawled along the rooftop to his friend’s side. He patted Lance Cpl. Koenig’s body, looking for wounds.

Then he noticed that the plate that usually secures night-vision goggles to the front of Lance Cpl. Koenig’s helmet was missing. In its place was a thumb-deep dent in the hard Kevlar shell.

Lance Cpl. Gabrian slid his hands under his friend’s helmet, looking for an entry wound. “You’re not bleeding,” he assured Lance Cpl. Koenig. “You’re going to be OK.”

Lance Cpl. Koenig climbed down the metal ladder and walked to the company aid station to see the Navy corpsman.

The only injury: A small, numb red welt on his forehead, just above his right eye.

See also:
U.S., Afghan Troops Battle Snipers in Marjah Offensive
Snipers harass US, Afghan troops moving in Marjah
Taliban step up attacks in besieged Afghan town
Marines, Afghan troops dodge sniper fire as battle to control Marjah rages
Hidden enemy delays advance in Marjah
Marines Into Marjah
Storming the Taliban stronghold
In Marjah offensive, Afghan forces take the lead
Nato General Praises Afghan ‘Partnership’
Operation Moshtarak Clearing Phase Continues
U.S. and Afghan Troops Expand Control in Marjah
U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah
‘Operation Moshtarak’ Reportedly Successful But With Setbacks
Troops complain rules of engagement give Taliban advantage
Afghanistan war: Marjah battle as tough as Fallujah, say US troops
IEDs a threat now and long into the future for fight against Taleban
Out of Marjah, safe in Pak?
‘Always a risk’ of Taliban return

At the time of this post, three days into the operation, the Coalition has still only taken two fatal casualties while killing dozens of Taliban.

/so it’s not like the battle for Marjah is turning into a disaster or the Taliban is even remotely close to winning

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