February 5, 2010 7:40 PM

Why are U.S., allies telling Taliban about coming offensive?

Military operations usually are intended to catch the enemy off guard, but for weeks U.S. and allied officials have been telling reporters about their forthcoming assault on Marjah, a Taliban-held town of 80,000. The unusual approach, according to U.S. and British commanders, is intended to persuade Marjah's civilian population to leave or turn against the Taliban, while pressuring the estimated 2,000 insurgents to flee the town or switch sides.

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