Marjah Taliban 'Running Out of Gas'

Commaders say half town's fighters are dead or fled
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2010 3:42 AM CST
US Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, take cover in an open poppy field during a firefight as Taliban fighters fire on them in Marjah yesterday.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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(Newser) – The number of Taliban fighters in Marjah has dropped by half and morale is fading fast among the rest, according to American and Afghan commanders. Some 100 of the 400 fighters in the area when the AFghan offensive began Saturday have been killed and commanders say close to 100 more have fled, the New York Times reports.

Fierce fighting continues but officials say local Afghans are refusing to shelter the Taliban and are helping NATO and Afghan forces find fighters and hidden bombs. "They are calling for help, and they are not getting any,” Col. Scott Hartsell told a group of senior officers at a briefing yesterday. “Pretty soon, they are going to run out of gas." Commanders say they hope the combat phase of the operation will be over in 4 days.

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