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US Soldier Killed in Taliban Attack

2 others wounded in Helmand province on Tuesday: officials

(Newser) - An American Special Ops soldier was killed and at least two Americans were wounded in Afghanistan on Tuesday, reports Fox News . Officials say forces were taking part in a counter-terrorism mission near Marjah in Helmand province when they were targeted by Taliban fighters, per NBC News , which was first to... More »

Troops Forced to Play Diplomat in Kandahar

Forces represent Afghan government where it fears to go

(Newser) - After the less-than-successful military offensive in Marjah, NATO forces are taking a different tack in the villages surrounding Kandahar: They’re acting as representatives of the distant, oft-distrusted government. In “Operation Hamkari” (“cooperation”), soldiers are attempting to drive out the Taliban simply by improving government services and... More »

We Can't Take Kandahar Yet: McChrystal

NATO delays operation because locals don't want them there

(Newser) - The military push to secure Kandahar is being delayed, because the hearts-and-minds part of the operation isn’t going so well, General Stanley McChrystal revealed at a NATO meeting in Brussels today. The massive operation to take back the birthplace of the Taliban was supposed to begin this month, the... More »

Afghans Flee as Marjah Offensive Sours

US hasn't done a good job clearing or holding

(Newser) - Remember the big American military “clear and hold” operation in Marjah, Afghanistan? It ain't going so well. More than 150 families have fled the area, and some refugees tell the New York Times the Taliban is still running rampant, and the US is unable to protect the local population.... More »

U2 Spy Plane Soars Again in Afghanistan

With technology old and new, plane provides valuable intel

(Newser) - A relic of the Cold War era is nothing of the kind, as the US military increasingly uses its aging fleet of high altitude U2 spy planes to conduct real-time surveillance in Afghanistan. Retrofitted with modern electronics, the U2 and its pilot can monitor the battlefield, provide crucial communications to... More »

Afghan Flag Raised in Marjah

Government aims to win residents' allegiance with jobs, projects

(Newser) - The Afghan flag was raised today in Marjah after a two-week offensive that left at least 10 coalition troops and 150 Taliban fighters dead and set the stage for the Afghan government’s hopeful return to an area it ceded two years ago. The governor of Helmand province was at... More »

33 Civilians Killed in Afghan Airstrike

Women, children among victims in bombed minibuses

(Newser) - At least 33 civilians, including women and children, were killed yesterday when a NATO airstrike obliterated a group of minibuses traveling along a road in the midst of the Marjah offensive. Officials believed the vehicles were carrying insurgents on their way to attack allied forces. Some 14 people were wounded... More »

Marines Squeeze Taliban Holdouts in Marjah

(Newser) - Marines and Afghan units converged today on a dangerous western quarter of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, with NATO forces facing "determined resistance" as their assault on the southern town entered its second week. Fighter jets, drones, and attack helicopters flew over Marjah, as Marine and Afghan companies moved... More »

Marines Seize Marjah Taliban HQ

Elite squads dropped behind Taliban lines as offensive continues

(Newser) - US Marines seized a compound that appears to have been the Taliban's Marjah headquarters after a fierce gunfight Friday. The compound just south of the town center contained dozens of Taliban-issued ID cards and diplomas from a Taliban training camp in Pakistan, the AP reports. Small groups of fighters abandoned... More »

Taliban Snipers Finally Learn How to Shoot

Deadly marksmen a new challenge for US, Afghan forces

(Newser) - In their battle with US-led troops in Marjah, the Taliban seem to have traded up from their characteristically shoddy marksmen to skilled snipers who are taking a toll. Sniper fire, rarely seen in more than eight years of fighting in Afghanistan, has killed one Marine and struck four others in... More »

Taliban Using Human Shields in Marjah

Troops strive to avoid civilian casualties, take city center

(Newser) - Taliban fighters in Marjah are increasingly using civilians as human shields, as they try to thwart NATO's house-to-house searches, according to the top Afghan general in the offensive. “The enemy is fighting from compounds where soldiers can very clearly see women or children on the roof or in a... More »

Marjah Taliban 'Running Out of Gas'

Commaders say half town's fighters are dead or fled

(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... More »

Marjah a Blueprint for Obama Afghan Strategy

Afghan troops outnumber NATO and US for first time

(Newser) - The current offensive in Marjah is not only the largest in the 8 years the US has been engaged in in Afghanistan, but the White House hopes it will serve as a strategic blueprint for the rest of the war. The administration has been stressing the differences between the Marjah... More »

Snipers Pin Troops in Marjah

Firefights erupt across town

(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... More »

NATO Strike Kills 12 Afghan Civilians

Rocket misses target by 1000 yards; McChrystal apologizes to Karzai

(Newser) - Twelve Afghans died today when two rockets fired at insurgents missed their target by 1,000 feet and struck a house during the second day of NATO's ambitious effort to break the Taliban's grip on the country's dangerous south. Thousands of US and Afghan forces encountered pockets of resistance, fighting... More »

Allies Storm Marjah, Begin Treacherous Sweeps

Fighting sporadic but fierce as US wonders how many Taliban remain

(Newser) - US, British, and Afghan troops encountered little initial resistance as they swept into Marjah yesterday and took up "all the strategic points in the area" in the biggest offensive since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. It was as they began individually searching houses, reports Dexter Filkins in the New ... More »

Marjah Offensive Ends 'Mowing the Grass' Strategy

When fighting ends, an Afghan government will move in

(Newser) - The massive new assault under way in Afghanistan represents the new military strategy of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, writes Dexter Filkins. When the fighting is over and coalition forces have taken control of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, the Afghan government will quickly set up government offices along with a police... More »

Taliban: We Still Control Marjah

Insurgents deny NATO's claims of early success

(Newser) - A Taliban spokesman says Afghan insurgents are still in control of the southern town of Marjah amid ongoing fighting with NATO and Afghan forces. Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said by phone today that Taliban fighters are holding their ground, and that Afghan government claims of 20 dead Taliban fighters were... More »

Major Afghan Assault Begins

US, Afghan forces attack Taliban-held Marjah

(Newser) - The largest US-led offensive in Afghanistan since the 2001 charge that unseated the Taliban is now under way, with Marines and Afghan troops attacking the southern Taliban stronghold of Marjah, which they surrounded yesterday. Operation Moshtarak—meaning “together” in the native Dari tongue—could involve as many as 15,... More »

US, Afghan Troops Ring Taliban Stronghold

Battle for Marjah to be the biggest in 9-year war

(Newser) - US and Afghan forces ringed the Taliban stronghold of Marjah yesterday, sealing off escape routes and setting the stage for what is being described as the biggest offensive of the 9-year war. Taliban defenders repeatedly fired rockets and mortars at units poised in foxholes along the edge of the town,... More »

20 Stories