Marines encounter resistance in major Afghanistan offensive

July 3, 2009

(ChattahBox) Nearly 4,000 US Marines launched an operation Thursday into Taliban strongholds in a major assault in Afghanistan.  Marines rushed into southern Helmand province on Thursday to drive out militants and securing the area ahead of presidential elections August 20.Brig Larry Nicholson told the AFP news agency on Friday that his soldiers were in a “hell of a fight” and were facing “difficult challenges”.

The offensive coined operation Khanjar or “sword strike” in the south marks the first major operation under U.S. President Barack Obama’s aggressive strategy to defeat an increasingly violent Taliban insurgency. The province of Helmand is considered to be the heartland of the Taliban insurgency and a major poppy-producing area for the production of opium, which helps fund their activities.

Separately, U.S. officials say the military is using all its resources to find an American soldier believed to have been captured by militants in eastern Paktika province on Tuesday.


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