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RFI - First casualties as 15,000 troops enter Marjah
Thousands of troops have launched an offensive, dubbed "Operation Mushtarak", in the Marjah district of Afghanistan's Helmand province. Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says a combined force of 15,000 soldiers is being led by US marines, but also incorporates Afghan soldiers.

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Five Taliban fighters were killed on Saturday in two separate locations after the offensive began, according to Afghan officers.

US and British troops were dropped into the town by helicopter ahead of ground troops, said Lieutenant Josh Diddams, a US marines spokesperson. He said troops were meeting "minimal resistance" as they moved forward on the ground, but that they had come under fire from Taliban fighters.

Helmand Governor Mohammad Gulab said troops transported by 60 helicopters had taken 11 "strategic areas", but that there were "a lot of mines in the area", which are being defused.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:31:13 AM EST
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News Analysis - Afghan Offensive Is New War Model - NYTimes.com
KABUL, Afghanistan -- For all the fighting that lies ahead over the next several days, no one doubts that the American and Afghan troops swarming into the Taliban redoubt of Marja will ultimately clear it of insurgents.

And that is when the real test will begin.

For much of the past eight years, American and NATO forces have mounted other large military operations to clear towns and cities of Taliban insurgents. And then, almost invariably, they have cleared out, never leaving behind enough soldiers or police officers to hold the place on their own.

And so, almost always, the Taliban returned -- and, after a time, so did the American and NATO troops, to clear the place all over again.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:54:17 AM EST
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New? Is this not the strategic hamlet in new packaging?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 07:28:33 AM EST
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