US Surge Troops See First Combat in Afghanistan

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2009 7:14 PM CST
SPC Gerardo Cano of US Army 1-178 Alpha Company and of Peoria, Illinois keeps guard on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kala Gush February 15, 2009 in Kala Gush, Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Close to 3,000 American soldiers who recently arrived in Afghanistan to secure two violent provinces near Kabul have begun operations in the field and already are seeing combat, the AP reports. The new troops are the first wave of an expected surge of reinforcements this year. The process began to take shape under President Bush but has been given impetus by President Obama's call for an increased focus on Afghanistan.

The new unit moved into Logar and Wardak provinces last month. Militants have attacked several patrols with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, including one ambush by 30 insurgents, a brigade spokesman said. "In every case our vehicles returned with overwhelming fire," he said. "We have not suffered anything more than a few bruises, while several insurgents have been killed."