In Your Face Taliban, The Coalition Is Coming To Take Marjah And There’s Not A Damn Thing You Can Do About It

U.S. Announces Helmand Offensive

In a rare break from traditional military secrecy, the U.S. and its allies are announcing the precise target of their first big offensive of the Afghanistan surge in an apparent bid to intimidate the Taliban.

Coalition officers have been hinting aloud for months that they plan to send an overwhelming Afghan, British and U.S. force to clear insurgents from the town of Marjah and surrounding areas in Helmand province, and this week the allies took the unusual step of issuing a press release saying the attack was “due to commence.”

Senior Afghan officials went so far as to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the offensive, although the allies have been careful not to publicize the specific date or details of the attack.

“If we went in there one night and all the insurgents were gone and we didn’t have to fire a shot, that would be a success,” a coalition spokesman, Col. Wayne Shanks, said before the announcement. “I don’t think there has been a mistake in letting people know we’re planning on coming in.”

The risks could be substantial, however. By surrendering the element of surprise, the coalition has given its enemy time to dig entrenched fighting positions and tunnel networks. Perhaps worse for the attacking infantrymen, the insurgents have had time to booby-trap buildings and bury bombs along paths, roads and irrigated fields. Such hidden devices inflict the majority of U.S. and allied casualties.

Over the past few months, the new allied commander in southern Afghanistan, British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, has revamped NATO’s coalition strategy in a region that is home to the Pashtun tribes and opium poppy fields that form the ethnic and financial foundations of the Taliban insurgency.

With the first of 30,000 new U.S. troops already on the ground in Afghanistan, Gen. Carter’s plan is to focus on two population centers—Kandahar city, in Kandahar province, and central Helmand province to the west. Combined, they are home to about two million of the estimated three million residents of southern Afghanistan.

Still, the military has taken an unusual step by broadcasting its imminent intention to assault a particular town, Marjah, and its environs. During World War II, civilians and servicemen were frequently reminded that “Loose lips sink ships” and “Enemy ears are listening.” For months leading up to the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, the Allies went to great lengths to disguise their target.

Similarly, the coalition in Afghanistan normally forbids—at the threat of expulsion—embedded reporters from writing about events before they take place. In this case, though, officials even released the name of the offensive, Operation Moshtarak, and said it would be a joint Afghan-coalition attack. Moshtarak means “together” in Dari, although the bulk of the population in southern Afghanistan speaks Pashto.

See also:
Allies publicly target Taliban
Coalition troops brace for biggest offensive since start of Afghan war
Marines gear up for push into Afghan Taliban enclave
Marines prepare to storm Taliban stronghold
US Marines, Afghan and NATO forces brace for battle in Afghan Taliban stronghold
US marines plan attack on Taleban stronghold
US, NATO, Afghan Troops Planning Major Southern Offensive
Troops Prepare and Publicize Offensive Against Taliban
Afghanistan: US and British to launch biggest offensive since 2001
U.S. Plans Defense of Kandahar

An interesting Coalition strategy indeed, will the Taliban flee in humiliation or flock to Marjah and die en masse? The overhead drones will surely be watching.

/either way, we’re taking the town

Classic Hammer And Anvil With Taliban In Between


‘Cobra’s Anger’ strikes Taliban

More than 1,000 U.S., British, and Afghan troops launched a major offensive in a key battleground of southern Afghanistan yesterday, only days after President Barack Obama unveiled a new strategy to end the war.

NATO said the offensive was designed to crush terrorists around a major town in Helmand in order to allow development to begin and civilians to return, key elements of Mr. Obama’s decision to deploy 30,000 new U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

About 900 U.S. Marines and sailors, British troops and more than 150 Afghan soldiers and police were taking part in Operation Khareh Cobra, or “Cobra’s Anger” in the valley of Now Zad.

Hundreds of Marines were dropped by aircraft into the north of the valley, while a large force of soldiers pushed northward from the town of Now Zad to sandwich the Taliban between the two forces.

“More than 1,000 ISAF personnel partnered with Afghan national security forces began a long-planned operation in northern Helmand province to clear insurgent forces from a key area,” the military said.

For the first time in Afghanistan, U.S. troops used Osprey aircraft — which have features of both a helicopter and a fixed-wing plane– to fly waves of Marines into the valley.

Also for the first time, combat engineers deployed the “Assault Breacher,” a tracked armoured vehicle built on a tank chassis. It was being used to clear a path through improvised minefields.

Major William Pelletier, from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand, told CNN the valley is “a major through-route” for transporting fighters and munitions from east to west and north to south. Terrorists have mined the region, and troops intend to provide enough security for the Afghan government and nongovernmental organizations to begin clearing the mines and roadside bombs so they can repopulate the town.

“So far, four Taliban dead bodies were left behind on the battlefield. But enemy casualties could be higher,” said Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand governor, adding scores of mines and a cache of explosives were seized.

See also:
U.S. Marines advance in southern Afghanistan
US, British, Afghan Troops Push into Taliban Area
Marines Start Operation in Helmand Province
Marines, Afghans Launch Major Offensive
‘Cobra’s Anger’ unleashed in Taliban heartland
New Afghan push takes aim at militants
U.S., Afghan troops launch first major offensive after Obama’s announcement of troop surge
Militants killed, detained in new Afghan-US military operation
‘Cobra’s Anger’ making progress, say US Marines
‘Cobra’s Anger’ Offensive Sends Thousand U.S., NATO Troops To Afghan Valley
NATO takes on Taliban in south of Afghanistan
Marines Start Operation in Helmand Province
Monster mine-clearing tank goes to work in Afghanistan
ABV to protect combat engineers
Grizzly [Breacher]
Controversial ‘Osprey’ chopper makes debut in Afghanistan
V-22 Osprey
V-22 Osprey

/dusting off the old playbook, shades of Junction City

Deep Into The Heart Of Indian Country

Get some!

Operation Aims to Secure Southern Afghanistan for Elections

Hours into the new Operation Eastern Resolve II in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, defense officials report that U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers are confronting “some resistance” as they work to secure the area for the Aug. 20 elections.

The Marines and Afghan soldiers launched the offensive earlier today in Helmand province’s Now Zad district. Much of the operation is centered on Dahaneh, a Taliban-held southern Afghanistan town, and the surrounding mountains.

The mission was ordered to disrupt insurgent violence and intimidation campaigns and provide freedom of movement for Afghans to vote in upcoming provincial and national elections, military officials at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan reported.

About 100 Afghan National Army soldiers and 400 Marines and sailors from Marine Expeditionary Brigade, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, are conducting the operation. Marines from Marine Aircraft Group 40 provided helicopter lift and other aviation support for the mission.

The operation is proceeding as planned, and forces have confronted some opposition, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. No casualty information is available, he said. Marine officials later reported that casualties are “very light.”

See also:
Operation Eastern Resolve II Launches
U.S. Marines Fight for Strategic Taliban Stronghold in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province
US to expand operation in Afghanistan
Military Operation Targets Taliban Before Afghan Election
US, Afghan troops launch operation to protect vote
Marines launch new assault in Afghanistan, target Taliban-held town so residents can vote
Helmand province
Camp Leatherneck

Rumor has it that the Taliban was tipped off in advance about the operation, but they’ll die just the same.

/Godspeed Marines, rack up lots of Taliban ass!