Afghanistan: Marjah, The Battle Has Begun
NEAR MARJAH, Afghanistan – Helicopter-borne U.S. Marines and Afghan troops swooped down on the Taliban-held town of Marjah before dawn Saturday, launching a long-expected attack to re-establish government control and undermine support for militants in their southern heartland. The assault on Marjah is the biggest offensive since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and will serve as a major test of a new NATO strategy focusing on protecting civilians. The attack is also the first major combat operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 U.S. reinforcements here in December to try to turn the tide of the war. Marine commanders say they expect between 400 to 1,000 insurgents to be holed up inside this southern Afghan town of 80,000 people in Helmand province, including more than 100 foreign fighters. Marjah is the biggest southern town under Taliban control and the linchpin of the militants' logistical and opium-smuggling network. "The first wave of choppers has landed inside Marjah. The operation has begun," said Capt. Joshua Winfrey, commander of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, which was at the forefront of the attack.I was alerted about this a short while ago by Michael Yon. He will have a full dispatch Sunday morning. Again, stay safe everyone and splode lots of Taliban!! h/t Star. Update by Howie: Raw Video: Operation Moshtarak.
Video of troops boarding helicopters. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) announced today that key military clearing operations for Operation Moshtarak have begun in central Helmand