Snipers Pin Troops in Marjah

Firefights erupt across town
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2010 9:09 AM CST
US marines take cover during a firefight as Taliban snipers fire on their position in Marjah, Feb. 14, 2010.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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(Newser) – Sniper teams attacked US Marines and Afghan troops across the Taliban haven of Marjah today, the third day of a major offensive to seize the extremists' southern heartland. Multiple firefights broke out in different neighborhoods as American and Afghan forces worked to clear out pockets of insurgents and push slowly beyond parts of the town they have claimed. With gunfire coming from several directions all day long, troops managed to advance only 500 yards deeper as they fought off small squads of Taliban snipers.

"There's still a good bit of the land still to be cleared," said a Marine spokesman. "We're moving at a very deliberative pace." But Afghan military officials gave a more optimistic view of the progress being made, with one general saying that the insurgents have been largely contained. The Interior Minister said he suspected many insurgents had already left; after all, they "had ample time to flee. Our intention was known to both our public and the enemy."

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