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Marjah offensive: light resistance reported



Although billed as a major confrontation between the international coalition and Afghan forces and the Taliban, the offensive in the southern Helmand province saw only sporadic fighting in its first day. Two coalition soldiers were killed, along with about 20 insurgents. It was the biggest assault since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

The helicopter airlift into the heart of the city of 80,000 started around 2 a.m. and allowed the troops to quickly establish 11 posts throughout Marjah, while the bulk of the 15,000-man force carefully picked its way over land.

The operation had been deliberately telegraphed in advance for weeks, but the military tactics still seem to have surprised the enemy.

…Marjah is the last Taliban stronghold in Helmand and the hub for a thriving heroin business in the province, which fuels the insurgents.

The U.S.-led NATO offensive, called Moshtarak, which means “together,” is a joint operation between the International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan army. It is designed to showcase both Afghan capability and the coalition’s new approach to the war.

…Some 15,000 soldiers are involved in the Marjah operation, with the British soldiers focused on the surrounding villages of Nad Ali district. A civilian effort, including Afghans and others from the international community, is supposed to follow just behind the troops.

by teru kuwayama at 2010-02-15 20:29:02 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→



Taliban resistance has been described as “light” by Major General Gordon Messenger, the top British spokesman.

“There has been some resistance but it has been relatively light and the initial objective of surprising the Taliban with the time and place of the operation appears to have been achieved,” Messenger said.

by teru kuwayama | 16 Feb 2010 07:02 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→


The Taleban, instead, took recourse to their usual tactics and withdrew from the area, not picking an open fight. Embedded journalists report ‘little resistance’. The BBC quoted a Taleban commander in Marja that his men were pulling back to spare any civilian casualties. (They might return, though, or use pin-prick attacks from within the area.) And the New York Times reported that the Taleban shadow district governor of Marja was caught by the NDS when fleeing through Kandahar (see here). And although some 300 to 400 families – that must be up to 5000 people – indeed have left Marja and Nad Ali – according to UNHCR, the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent mainly to Lashkargah, Gereshk and Garmser – this barely is large part of the population.

by teru kuwayama | 16 Feb 2010 07:02 | Palo Alto, California, United States | | Report spam→

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teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
New York , United States


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