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Old 02-16-2010, 04:27 PM   #21
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

Taliban Fighters Step Up Attacks on U.S., Afghan Troops in Marjah


Feb. 14: A U.S. soldier returns fire as others run for cover during a firefight with insurgents in Marjah, Afghanistan.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,585888,00.html

MARJAH, Afghanistan — Taliban fighters stepped up counterattacks Monday against Marines and Afghan soldiers in the militant stronghold of Marjah, slowing the allied advance to a crawl despite Afghan government claims that the insurgents are broken and on the run.

Taliban fighters appeared to be slipping under cover of darkness into compounds already deemed free of weapons and explosives, then opening fire on the Marines from behind U.S. lines.

Also on Monday, NATO said five civilians were accidentally killed and two wounded by an airstrike when they were mistakenly believed to have been planting roadside bombs in Kandahar province, east of the Marjah offensive.

The airstrike happened one day after 12 people, half of them children, were killed by two U.S. missiles that struck a house on the outskirts of Marjah. Afghan officials said Monday that three Taliban fighters were in the house at the time of the attack.

On the third day of the main attack on Marjah, Afghan commanders spoke optimistically about progress in the town of about 80,000 people, the linchpin of the Taliban logistical and opium poppy smuggling network in the militant-influenced south.

Brig. Gen. Sher Mohammad Zazai, commander of Afghan troops in the south, told reporters in nearby Lashkar Gah that there had been "low resistance" in the town, adding "soon we will have Marjah cleared of enemies."

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said many insurgent fighters had already fled Marjah, possibly heading for Pakistan.

In Marjah, however, there was little sign the Taliban were broken. Instead, small, mobile teams of insurgents repeatedly attacked U.S. and Afghan troops with rocket, rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Insurgents moved close enough to the main road to fire repeatedly at columns of mine-clearing vehicles.

At midday at least six large gunbattles were raging across the town, and helicopter gunships couldn't cover all the different fighting locations.

Allied officials have reported only two coalition deaths so far — one American and one Briton killed Saturday. There have been no reports of wounded. Afghan officials said at least 27 insurgents have been killed so far in the offensive.

Nonetheless, the harassment tactics and the huge number of roadside bombs, mines and booby traps planted throughout Marjah have succeeded in slowing the movement of allied forces through the town. After daylong skirmishes, some Marine units had barely advanced at all by sundown.

As long as the town remains unstable, NATO officials cannot move to the second phase — restoring Afghan government control and rushing in aid and public services to win over inhabitants who have been living under Taliban rule for years.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai approved the assault on Marjah only after instructing NATO and Afghan commanders to be careful about harming civilians. "This operation has been done with that in mind," the top NATO commander, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said Monday.

Despite those instructions, NATO said two U.S. rockets veered off target by up to 600 yards and slammed into a home Sunday outside Marjah, killing 12 people. Six children were among the dead, a NATO military official confirmed Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information had not been formally released.

In London, Britain's top military officer, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, called the missile strike a "very serious setback" to efforts to win the support of local communities, who are from the same Pashtun ethnic group as the Taliban.

"This operation ... is not about battling the Taliban. It is about protecting the local population, and you don't protect them when you kill them," he said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.

NATO said the Kandahar airstrike was ordered Monday after a joint NATO-Afghan patrol saw people digging along a path "and believed that the individuals" were planting a roadside bomb. When they realized their mistake, troops flew the wounded to a NATO hospital, the statement said.

"We regret this tragic accident and offer our sympathies to the families of those killed and injured," said Maj. Gen. Michael Regner, the NATO command's deputy chief of staff for joint operations. "Our combined forces take every precaution to minimize civilian casualties, and we will investigate this incident to determine how this happened."

About 15,000 U.S., Afghan and British troops are taking part in the massive offensive around Marjah area — the largest southern town under Taliban control. The offensive is the biggest joint operation since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The main attack began before dawn Saturday when dozens of helicopters dropped hundreds of Marines and Afghan soldiers into the heart of the city. Ground troops began moving just before sunrise, using makeshift bridges to cross the irrigation canals ringing the town because the main bridge was so heavily mined.

Although there was only scattered resistance on the first day, Taliban fighters seem to have regrouped, using hit-and-run tactics to try to prevent the Americans and their Afghan allies from gaining full control of the area.

The Taliban snipers appeared highly skilled at concealing themselves.

"I haven't seen anything, not one person, not a muzzle flash," said Richard Knie, of Hudson, Iowa, a former Marine and retired police officer embedded with the Marines as a law enforcement professional. "And I've been looking a lot."

Troops complained that strict rules to protect civilians made it difficult to use enough firepower to stop the attacks.

"I understand the reason behind it, but it's so hard to fight a war like this," said Lance Corp. Travis Anderson, 20, from Altoona, Iowa. "They're using our rules of engagement against us," he said, adding that his platoon had repeatedly seen men dropping their guns into ditches before walking away to melt among civilians.
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:47 PM   #22
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

Quote:
Taliban fighters stepped up counterattacks Monday against Marines and Afghan soldiers in the militant stronghold of Marjah, slowing the allied advance to a crawl despite Afghan government claims that the insurgents are broken and on the run.
BAH! US Marines don't get attacked. They just let the Taliban THINK they were attacking.

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Old 02-16-2010, 05:09 PM   #23
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

i dont know if anyone here likes or believes CNN news but then again i dont care-

Taliban Leader Captured

http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/201...apture/?hpt=T1


Quote:
The Taliban's top military leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has been captured, senior U.S. and Pakistani officials told CNN. Baradar has been a close associate of Osama bin Laden and is seen as the number two figure in the Afghan Taliban.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Baradar and his capture:
Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Is it significant that Baradar was caught in Karachi, Pakistan?
What does his capture mean for the current Operation Moshtarak?
Will Baradar's capture help find Osama bin Laden?


Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is regarded as the No.2 figure in the Afghan Taliban behind Mullah Mohammed Omar and is described as a close associate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But with Omar staying out of sight, Baradar is "basically the de facto leader" of the Taliban, said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, a Pakistani think tank.

CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen called Baradar "arguably more important than Mullah Omar from a military point of view," because Omar is more of a religious figure than an operational commander of the Taliban.

Rana called Baradar a "very skilled military tactician." "When the Taliban were in government in Afghanistan, he was the supreme commander of the army and was heading the charge against the Northern Alliance holdouts at that point in time." Rana said Baradar's capture is significant because he was was actively directing the Taliban's activities in Afghanistan.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:23 PM   #24
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

Heard about that on 1010 WINS this morning. They say he's being cooperative.?.? ...
Cattle prods will do that to a man I guess.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:49 PM   #25
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

regardless of what i may feel about the CIC...these actions, along with the drone attacks, and the Marjah offensive...i can undoubtedly support him on these..

now about the ROE under what the Marines have to fight.....thats a different story.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:11 PM   #26
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

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Originally Posted by urgle burgle View Post
regardless of what i may feel about the CIC...these actions, along with the drone attacks, and the Marjah offensive...i can undoubtedly support him on these..

now about the ROE under what the Marines have to fight.....thats a different story.
To be fair, those were in place before Obama. That's largely why the conflict is rapidly closing in on a decade in duration at this point....
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:11 AM   #27
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

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To be fair, those were in place before Obama. That's largely why the conflict is rapidly closing in on a decade in duration at this point....
That is true, the ROE's have been in place for awhile. Saw this morning on the news that the Taliban are using human shields, what a surprise there. Also saw on the news that the Marines have observed guys coming out of buildings where sniper fire was coming from and just wallk into the population and guys just running out of building tossing their weapons aside knowing our guys cannot engage in that situation. I say we drop leaflets all over the city saying, if you are brandishing a weapon, you are considered Taliban and will be dealt with accordingly.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:27 AM   #28
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

Give 'em hell boys! And whe you're done giving them hell...give them some more!
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:58 PM   #29
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

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To be fair, those were in place before Obama. That's largely why the conflict is rapidly closing in on a decade in duration at this point....
true, and im not exactly pointing the finger at him....
some of that ROE was in place before, new addendums have been added by Mchrystal.....i understand his idea by emplacing them, since he is the counter-insurgency master (i guess), i just dont agree with them. and Obama did have to sign off on them. but, he did what he should do, let the general on the ground make the call.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:02 PM   #30
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Default Re: Major offensive in Afghanistan underway

I know this is a very unpleasent and unfair comment, but why don't we accidently bomb Afghanistan to bits and say to the press they were accidently dropped whilst shipping them to australia for training exercises in their barren deserts???
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