US Marines Launch Large Offensive in Afghanistan

About 1,000 US and Afghan troops have launched strikes against Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. Alfred de Montesquiou, The Associated Press reports:

“Hundreds of troops from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines and the Marine reconnaissance unit Task Force Raider were dropped by helicopter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft behind Taliban lines in the northern end of the Now Zad Valley of Helmand province, scene of heavy fighting last summer, according to Marine spokesman Maj. William Pelletier….

“A second, larger force pushed northward from the Marines’ Forward Operating Base in the town of Now Zad, Pelletier said. Combat engineers were forcing a corridor through Taliban minefields with armored steamrollers and explosives, Pelletier said….

“The operation began three days after Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan to help turn the tide against the Taliban. America’s European allies will send an estimated 7,000 more troops to Afghanistan next year “with more to come,” NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced Friday.”

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-Victoria Harper