Casualties mount in Afghan campaign against Taliban

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 13, 2010 

KABUL, Afghanistan — The massive Marine-led offensive in southern Afghanistan against the last remaining Taliban stronghold in Helmand province claimed the first two casualties from coalition forces, with two unidentified soldiers killed Saturday, just hours after the start of the operation.

The campaign is the biggest assault since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

At least 20 Taliban were killed, according to the Afghan military but the insurgents claimed that they were still holding on to the town. Locals interviewed by McClatchy said that the Taliban were preventing residents from leaving. Fighting was said to be "sporadic".

Some 15,000 soldiers are storming the extremist bastion of Marjah, a town of around 80,000 where the operation risks causing civilian casualties that would undermine the new U.S. strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan.

Separately, three U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb elsewhere in the south of Afghanistan.

(Shah is a McClatchy Special Correspondent.)

MORE FROM MCCLATCHY

Goldman Sachs: Low Road to High Finance

Afghan government in tentative talks with insurgent leader

Former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson dies at 76

Few see reason to take rumors of Taliban talks seriously

Afghan legislators hold tentative peace talks with insurgents

As Afghan assault looms, many civilians haven't fled

Afghan drug capital is U.S. target in coming offensive

McClatchy Newspapers 2010

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service