Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marines Under Fire Ahead of Assault

Continuation of the foregoing post: Fighting a War With Our Hands Tied--Once Again!

Marines Under Fire Ahead of Assault
U.S. Marines came under attack from insurgents armed with sniper guns and rocket-propelled grenades as they geared up Wednesday to overwhelm a Taliban bastion in Afghanistan.

Thousands of Marines along with foreign and Afghan soldiers are taking up position around the town of Marjah in Helmand, which officials say is one of the last areas of the southern province under Taliban control.

The flow of residents fleeing the imminent offensive has slowed, provincial officials said, after loaded-down cars, trucks, tractors and buses clogged roads from Marjah to provincial capital Lashkah Gar for days.

"We have announced and told people in Marjah not to leave their houses as our operation is well planned and designed to target the enemy," said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal.

"Civilians will not be harmed," he said. Another 75 families had left Marjah, on top of 164 families who left earlier, the spokesman said. Other officials have said more than 400 families have fled.


It is seen as a key test of a comprehensive counter-insurgency strategy that aims to follow up what officials predict will be a decisive military victory by establishing Afghan government control.

But Taliban fighters appear defiant in the face of the enormous fire power being amassed in the region, where they have held sway for years in tandem with drug traffickers.

On the northeastern edge of Marjah, an AFP photographer said U.S. Marines arrived by helicopter at a deserted junction and immediately came under sniper fire from insurgents.

The Marines' encampment, reinforced with sandbags, also came under rocket fire. U.S. Cobra helicopters were called in to attack Taliban positions, the photographer said.

More--Read it all


Marines Wait in Cold for Afghan Offensive
Mine-Busting ‘Breachers’ Join Marjah Assault
US Faults Command Over Deadly Afghan Ambush
Marine Deaths Underscore US Struggle The incident, deadly and tragic as it was, rated only one short sentence on the official NATO website. The violent deaths of Marine Sgt. Daniel Angus, 28, and Lance Cpl. Zachary Smith, 19, underscore how quickly things can go from bad to worse in the frontline battle against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan....More
Marine Deaths Underscore US Struggle
US, Allies Tell Taliban About Offensive
Marines Under Fire Ahead of Assault
Al-Qaida Deputy Surfaces After Airstrike
McChrystal Orders AAFES Scaled Back
Video: Cobra Gun has no Mercy
Kit Up!: Stryker Pros and Cons

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