February 8th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Understanding Marjah

The military operation by coalition forces in Afghanistan (dubbed "Operation Moshtarak") focuses on Marjah. What's known about this town in Afghanistan?

Location: Marjah is in the volatile Helmand province in southern Afghanistan; it's an agricultural area dotted with villages.

Taliban: Marjah is the last major Taliban stronghold in Helmand province. A shadow Taliban government presides in the city and those who come in and out are forced to pay a tax to the Taliban at various checkpoints surrounding the city.

Population: The city encompasses around 80,000-100,000 people

Land: Marjah and the surrounding area holds some of the richest farmlands in Afghanistan. The fertile land is ripe for farming poppies and its absence of governance keeps the drug trade alive and strong.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Isopropyl Alcohol

    toilet seats should be disinfected regularly too, this is done to avoid the proliferation of harmful bacterias

    November 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aleg4surenow

    Media, media, they have NO idea of OPSEC. Beginning of Iraqi War a CA news group reported about a NEW IED detection/defeat device. Within 12 HOURS the information was listed on the enemies website telling how to defeat our new technology. THAT is also why we don't advertise (tell media) to the enemy about our body armor and helmet technology. The media thinks a news story is more important than Operational Security.

    February 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maritta

    I have a marine son that fought in Iraq and is now going to Afghanistan. I don't understand why the US is so worried about injuring or killing people from other nations and not worried about giving as much protection to our own troops. In the news, they say how many civilians are injured/killed first, and then our casualties are a footnote at best. We should be worrying about our own troops first, and not try to make friends of the locals who tolerate/support our enemies. We have to make sure our troops are well supplied with food and weapons and eliminate the current B.S. rules of engagement that make our children sitting ducks. We should get in, do what ever is necessary to achieve our military goals, and get out. I am an American, and I feel even one American life is worth more than complacent civilians or our enemies. Our political leaders do not have the stake that we the common citizens have in protecting our sons and daughters. It is about time that the people of the US take care of our own and stop worrying about others. We should adopt to the rules of the enemy when needed to protect our own.

    February 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. venom

    i think the real score here is not the taliban or the poppy field , what was real here is about puting a base to intercept missile coming from IRAN. if you look at the geographical map in afghanistan marjah is in good position to to put a interceptor.

    February 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Justin

    Don't blame the media. They are reporting what the military provided them. The military obviously wanted this information out there.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bruce

    It's amazing the naivate of some of the posters. Marines are not passification forces/not occupying forces...they are expeditionary forces who have one objective in mind...to achieve victory in the endeavour before them...to do this, the best way is to allow them to kill everything in their path...obviously taking a Fallujah or a Marjah cannot be done the best way since they are hampered by the many "innocent" civilians in the area.

    It would be tough to look at the marines, Brits and Afghan forces through the eyes of one of the civilians in the area, I'm sure they are regarded by many as invaders, irregardless of how they may have been treated by the Taliban. If a foreign army showed up in CA, it wouldn't be tough to figure out who to take up arms against...at a minimum any that threatened the lives of my family, or the property I owned. (For the time being, I can still take up arms in CA, but I can't shoot anyone with a lead bullet...but that's another subject.)

    The Marines have a tough job ahead of them, their role has been mitigated by the peoples involved and the circumstances of the situation. My only hope is that the press does not denegrate or belittle the job they are doing, or diminsh them in any way to meet their political agendas, as it was done in a not too distant past...

    To the naysayers in the column above...be assurred, Marines don't lose...it's politicians and the press that do...but what are you going to do when a bunch of lawyers get together and dance to the whim of a bunch of English majors...Left alone the Marines and their allies will get this job done, as cleanly as it can be...what will happen when they leave is anyone's guess...The people in this region have been hostile with themselves for thousands of years and it's doubtful they won't go back to business as usual...I doubt that they want any interference in what they consider their own affairs anymore than the Marines want to be there....

    February 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SamRam

    It is curious to me that many people, including politicians, are touting the destruction of Opium Poppies as a rationale for the current surge in Afghanistan. It only takes a 30 Square Mile (5 miles X 6 miles) crop to supply all of the opium that is converted to heroin and used in the United States for an entire year. Hopefully, our military strategists have bigger fish to fry. Semper Fi to all U.S Marines wherever thou art.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andy

    It could off course work for the alliance, civillians leave, this reduces civillian casulties and special forces look on recording were the taliban plant the bombs and dispose of them reducing military injuries

    February 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trev Whist

    Travelled in Russia last year and met 3 men in a hotel-bar, started a chat and discovered they were retired soldiers from the Afgahnistan war. As our evening progressed I started asking about the war and they showed me their wounds. They told me things that just were too much for a civilian too comprehend, Vodka and Drugs and death and distruction on an umbeleievable scale. Eventually the Russian Army had enough, no end of killing, no end of Russian Death's and arms lost and legs lost. Many soldiers started to use the drugs from locals as the scene was so so grousome that the soldiers could not handle it. Finally the Russian's just packed their bags and left, leaving biilions of dollars worth of tanks, gun, trucks, buildings and dead brothers. They left behind billions of dollars worth of army gear, tanks , trucks buildings etc. for what?? The same now is happening to the Americans. What a waste of men and resources. Time for the Americans to go home and let the natives have their drugs.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bobby

    STOP giving us information!!! Thousands of our soldiers and marines are over there fighting and you are publicizing everything like its just a movie to you!!!!! They may be slow, but Al Qaeda can read the same information too!

    February 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. boris

    i'm former rus.military man...you can not stay in afg. forever, this WAR will not change anything! afgan people do not need any "western democracy"!!!
    i'm sorry for every killed us soldier!
    politic been always a DIRTY BUSINESS...

    February 15, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. 2/7 HM

    #25. Joan, are you serious? Or are you just plain stupid?

    February 15, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. MITCH BONEL

    In Pakistan they say that the Russian soldiers were far better than American Cowards.

    This is a fact, our soldiers are pathetic little boys with no balls, who are sucking the tax payers money. Russian soldiers had far more respect of the afghan freedom fighters.

    Get out and stay out, we lost this war 8 yrs ago, just like we lost in Iraq,

    We lost

    February 15, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I pray for a quick and decisive victory for our NATO troops so that the Taliban cannot regroup but would rather put down their arms and join in on the political process! And for those who wish to continue fighting the government and NATO forces a quick trip to God for justice!

    February 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mitch Noons

    the opium fields are a main source of income for the farmers in Afgahnistan. By destroying them we are only making the country poorer. But at the same time the heroin is flowing right into to America. Either way your making the situation worse.

    February 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  16. 11bravo kwhost province

    do you think that the govt doesnt control what the media puts out? we see what the govt wants us to see....and that goes for taliban as well. there is nothing on the news that isnt put there for a reason. wether we like to admit it or not the media is a means by which the govt uses to control the outcome of given situiations...

    February 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  17. zach

    i returned from southern helmand last october, and during my time there it was all about garmser and nawa, never going near marjah. in fact we avoided marjah at all costs, making short trips longer..god bless all those marines there

    February 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  18. MsDp

    Ditto, former staff seargent us army William Greenaway, ditto!

    February 14, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  19. former staff seargent us army William Greenaway

    My prayers are for God to go before them,And protect them and to give them a quick victory.
    Thank you Guys.We are proud of you.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  20. worldoforder

    the best way to win this war is to win the mind and understand the need of the afghan people....fighting will create more tension and i just hope all this battle wont drag on too long...the longer it get the tougher the situation will be......

    February 14, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  21. bradley.holzwart

    Beware of the "Man in the Mirror" Capitalistic business dictates that a supply is never warranted unless there is a demand by the populous. The drug supply and trade would not exist if the incredible drug demand by the free western hemishere nations didn't warrant a need for supply. An ancient saying states that you should make sure you clean your own house before advocating cleaning someone else's. In the end of this conflict when the blood, sweat and tears are gone to the grave it will be the leftover children that survive that will teach us quote "wise adults" what the true meaining of love and sharing is all about. Afghanistan is one of the most beautiful, naturally occuring landscapes on earth, but we as man can't even leave that alone due to our unquenching taste for bloodthirst to prove who is right or wrong. Even Adolf Hitler had the courtesy to take his own life to remind us that we in the end are nothing more than a creature equal to him. Each of us is a terrorist chasing our own tails. We can't set aside pride for one second and humble ourselves to the level of a starving child and realize that the steel put into all the weapons could have been put into plow shares to turn the soil and feed them. I am an American Soldier who will always think to the highest level and will be a warrior to the end for the unheard and the unwanted and will speak for those who cannot for fear of reprisal by the one who wishes to control their being human crying out for the basic necessities for human life. I'm sure that if man doesn't wake up quickly of his ways that powers from the heavens above will use mother-nature itself to kill off many of us so that man in of itself will realize that food and water comes before all other needs. One thing is for sure, the human being only uses approximately 5% of his brain power, maybe we should attempt to capture more of this and use it for something more than a hat rack.

    February 14, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  22. Greg Carlton

    The U.S. and U.N. forces have been in Afghanistan for over 8 years now, and there are still "cities" of 80,000 to 100,000 people in Afghanistan who are living under a "Taliban government [that] presides in the city and those who come in and out are forced to pay a tax to the Taliban at various checkpoints surrounding the city"? Exactly what have all of these military forces been doing? This is truly unbelievable.

    February 14, 2010 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  23. Mark

    Well, as a brazilian I hope the NATO troops burn down their opion crops... I am still figuring it out this whole afghan thing... somehow I do not fancy the Talibans and cheer for the Nato troops. I guess that is the brazilian feeling about it. We are not directly involved as US and Britain, but we do not want the Talibans to win!

    If I was there I would definitely burn down their crops and free the women from those terrible burkas. I bet there are some nice chicks there.

    GO NATO.

    February 14, 2010 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  24. AnotherDude

    The Media is NOT leaking anything a Civil Affairs specialist hasn't already given to them. Come on people, I see some military members posting, you should know better! If you have ever worked at a major command this should be obvious. OPSEC (operation security) ensures the media doesn't learn what shouldn't be, and what has been doled out was purposely. Besides, the people of Marjah was warned!!

    February 14, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  25. ron hornick

    First off and "Formost" ,I come from a small town in northeat,Pa.U.S.A. I would like to thank! ALL! the armed forces of "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! For serving and protecting ,BUT, MOST OF ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMAN:WHO GAVE THE "ULTIMTATE SACRIFICE"AND!!THERE FAMILY'S. So I can sit in my own home,My OWN LAND!! With out fear... of dictatorship!or being tyrannized!!! That is "FREEDOM" in a small town:population 1,400. Also: my family has history of FULL HONORS!! MY LATE UN-CLE,Serverd as pa.national gaurd.battery c,688th aaa battalion,,Then enlisted to air force,serving in the 50s conflict,as first class airman,crew chief! on all RD-47 jet!!!bomber!!ALSO:BEING STATIONED! IN ENGLAND; FRANCE; GERMANY; NORTH AFRICA; GOOSE BAY; LABRADOR; ST. JOHN,NEWFOUNDLAND!!!! O.K.Why the above histGAIGory? IT is Called;HONOR and RESPECT!! FOR CIVILANS. BY THE LEAFLET'S That were dropped!! By NOTO and ALLIES of THE U.S. MARINES!! "THAT ARE NOT COWARD'S!! WHEN THEY! SPEARHEAD! THERE ASSAULT! AGAINST THE TALIIBAN/ALQEDA,AT LEAST THEY WHERE EVEN WARNED! SO! LET CNN.SAY WHAT THEY WANT!! CAUSE REMEMBER 9/11,AMERICA DID NOT START IT !! THE US MARINES ARE THE SHOCK TROOPS! FOLLOWED BY ARMY,AIRFORCE,NAVY,AND ALL OTHER ALLIES!!!THANK-YOU FOR LETTING ME SPEAK!FROM A SMALL TOWN IN PA. U.S.A. PS;CNN NEWS PLEASE ASK TALIBAN/ALQUEDA,IF THEY COULD REMEMBER:ADM:YAMAMOT.S LITTLE WORD'S ;QUOTE! NOW WE HAVE A-WOKEN THE GRAIT!! SLEEPING GAINT!!!THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!! GO GET THEM !! U.S. MARINES!!!! PROUD!!!OF YOU ALL. SMALL TOWN BOY!GIVEM "HELL'!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 14, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  26. Rob

    Merv

    The people that really do make you want to laugh because they are uninformed and express their opinions on something they know little about are commonly known as VOTERS.

    God Bless all the Boys & Girls in all the multinational units over there doing an awful job well.

    Rob

    February 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. SGT

    I think that the main reason they are exploiting the media is that something else is going down also. Why have we not heard anything about Pakistan in this. I bet that is what they hope happens. They run back to Pakistan where the Pak Army is waiting fo them with our preditors whaching them move. Then we will know more about what and where the leaders are.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Kaiser

    People here complaining about the media reporting more than it should need to realize that this information is coming from the US military itself. Journalists do not roam around in Afghanistan and gather this information. They travel with the military convoy and under US army protection.
    However as silly as these comments may sound, it really displays the general 'paranoia' that grips Americans in general.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  29. American Democrat

    I understand the media's need to report more news but could you please hold it off until the operation has begun? It's almost anti-american, letting the enemy know weeks in advance. Report AFTER the operation, not before!

    February 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  30. 1ANGLICO

    Same as Desert Storm and earlier. They have no idea. Wolf and Chris were broadcasting live where the scuds were impacting in Israel, giving the Iraqis direction how to adjust.

    Estupidom or maybe they're just like our politicians and only care about the money

    February 13, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Anton van Rikxoort

    SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, HUMANS HAVE BEEN RUMBLING, WHY IS IT THAT WHEN AMERICA GETS INVOLVED IT ESCALATES? Have they not learned from the Canadian Peace-keepers yet? Maybe if the slow down to watch the Winter Olympics of 2010 in Vancouver, Canada....................................etc.

    February 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  32. sgtusmc74280

    Before we all turn in for the night say a prayer for all the Afghan and coalition forces in their mission against the Taliban. Also, for the safety of the civilian population of Marjah. SEMPER FI !!!

    February 13, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  33. USMC Force Recon (Retired)

    I served in the Marines Force Recon unit and was one of the first units that went into Afghanistan in 2001, right after 9/11. There were no reporters with us, no media correspondant and no one knew we were coming. I agree the world has a right to know the news but at what expense? Many of the locals who saw us cheered when we came into their villages. Other (taliban and Al-Queda) ran like hell in fear.
    But once the news crews came in and word got out there were more causilties. The enemy has access to the internet and CNN, NBC and other world news groups and they watch them! I saw the enemy laptops and other intel they had first hand. The first rule of combat is never underestimate the power of your enemy. They know we have the firepower and the numbers and the troops and tanks and planes. They know hide among the innocent and use them as human shields (again I saw this first hand) But they do underestimate the ferociousness and tenancity of the Marines. We never quit and never surrender. I do agree with large operations sometimes you need to let out word that something big is coming so civilians can get out of the line of fire. Other times you need the element of surprise. I know those guys in this operation will have to deal with some urban warfare and house to house fighting. But we will win. I wish I could still be there (I was wounded in action) and fight along side my fellow Marines. But no matter what the Taliban will feel the wrathe of might and hear the battle cry "US MARINES" and they will run away.
    I also agree we need to destroy the enemies means of funding and wipe out the poppy fields. If the enemy has no money to buy guns then they can't shoot us.
    Good luck to all the guys over there battling it out. Keep your heads down and your weapons trained and at the end of the day know everyone here loves you and prays for you and salutes you! SEMPER FI!

    February 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Enver Khorasanee

    The USA will achieve its objective by declaring itself winner and leaving (hightailing) since it has the experience like they did in Vietnam. Then give every soldier a Purple heart like they did for Wounded Knee, Vietnam, Beirut. Now won't that be something, eh? Enver Khorasanee

    February 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Holly D Trott

    I am disappointed in the American public if they think our military commanders are not in full control of this operation including their reasons for releasing the alleged details. The military's integrity is being challenged by an American public whom seemed to not be able to think 'out of the box' and actually take the time to research the real reasons this information is displayed on all media worldwide. Wake-up my fellow Americans and read websites like CNN and remember we have ou sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends defending our country and together with other countries the world. I say God Bless our troops! Indulge yourself and educate yourself and have faith in our commanders.. And please don not rely on one media source before you make an informed opinion on this operation.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Mel Mesick

    The announcing of an offensive is a new strategy to allow civilians time to get out of harms way. This is not a blunder by the press. This is exactly what command wanted.
    If your going into a town, and civilians are leaving, and on the other hand you see armed militia entering, your targets are more easily defined.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disavowed

      Again Mel, Wrooong. This is a war of winning minds. Nicking a civilian is a press field day. In a war like Afghanistan, it is gorilla based. They can't survive or mount a war effort without community support. So those running out probably are also the enemy. I doubt this policy will make much of a difference, but it works for propaganda. The only way to win this war is to successfully slow the poppy farming and heroin trade. Without finances, you can't buy bullets and mortars. Without money, they can't bribe local leaders to hide and support them. Wars are always about money, they don't stop until someone is out of money.

      June 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  37. merv

    Some people really do make me want to laugh at their ability to display just how uninformed they are. They read a story for the first time and express their opinions on something they know little about. Yes, the media has brought this offensive out into the limelight for a while, but it is true that U>S> air crews dropped leaflets out warning people of the region that this was coming. Ture enough, some punk taliban fighters might get through with innocent people leaving, but some will be detained as they are caught leaving. There will not be as many civilians left for the cowardly enemy to hide behind and use as shields.
    Maybe the enemy is reading these posts and jumping up and down because they are successfully creating chaos inside our country between the American people. Maybe we should be commenting on these posts that we hope the coalition forces go at their enemies and swiftly eliminate them and move on to the next assignment. Then maybe the taliban readers, and i bet they do read some of this, will see that in the long run, they do not stand a chance.
    God Bless all those involved on our behalf, please watch out for each other and come home safely!

    February 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  38. lieNoMore

    Dude has no idea. Have some respect for our military, intell, coalition, and the US government. They might be telling the truth they might not bet. Keep the Taliban/Al Queda and their 15th Century pea brains guessing: Won't know and won't hear the ones that smoke them.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  39. p.evans

    God bless the U. S. Marines. You guys totally rock. You are absolutely putting it on the line for the rest of us. Never forget for a moment that the majority of Americans are GRATEFUL for and PROUD of you. And for whatever it's worth, my community has seen too many casualties from the war; these people made the ultimate sacrifice for the privilege of free speech, even hateful and ignorant speech, as seen on this blog. The allied forces are doing what has to be done: ridding the world of sub-human thugs and criminals. They do NOT represent true Islam faith. They do NOT represent the good people of the middle east. They are 8th century barbarians who have to be eliminated for the good of world peace. So big shout here from Dallas, Texas to all you servicemen and women for the allied forces...taking care of the business at hand. We are so proud of all of you.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Steve

    AT WHAT POINT ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO START READING???

    The operation was intended to be advertised. It is part of the strategy. Do you people understand? The news media is doing what the military wants them to do!! It's obvious those of you complaining are not READING!

    Are we all clear now?

    February 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Jeff G

    Go get 'em, boys.

    As for the poppy fields, in addition to being a basic component of heroin, opium is also a basic component for hundreds of legitimate pain medications. There is such a thing as legitimate production.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  42. salim

    first of all i like to salute the neto forses becose they are secrifing their life to kill this humain shape davils.this davils are using the name of islam and kiling innosent muslims children and wemans so they are not muslim this devils are using the name of islame for drug trafiking and making money i request neto forsess, if needed use nuclear bombs to finish this davils so real islam could be come in front of the world and come real peace into this world

    February 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Tim

    Wow Joan,

    That's a great point. We are using the war in Afghanistan for ethnic cleansing. Why didn't I think of that? Let's not forget though, the rest of the world still has an inordinate amount of Muslims too! Well, gee, we're America! We will declare was on them too!

    Or, now this is going out on a limb, maybe we are in this war to prevent terrorists from planning attacks that fly planes into our buildings? Maybe we are trying to push out the Taliban that preach Sharia law and infect the minds of young Afghan children that don't know any better. But then again, we fight so that you guys can have your convoluted opinions from your comfy sofas here in the states.

    Semper

    February 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  44. p.evans

    So if you guys will actually read the reports...the media is responding to the planned actions of allied military to publish its major push into the Helmand province to allow civilians to take cover and to round up Taliban leaders as they flee for cover, as they have been able to do in the last few weeks. The military wants everyone to know about the push; it's been well publicized in Afghanistan and the middle east for a reason....God bless our troops. While the Olympics are playing out in Canada, it's important to remember the most critical relay is being carried out by the military to rid the world of this particularly vicious gang of thugs and criminals...

    February 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  45. jeromy

    if you all think its the medias fault, you must be crazy. The media gets it info from the military units...this operation was executed with precision by the units on the ground. of course they let the 80,000+ civilians know that we were coming. those who wanted to leave could. they were screened when they left. all of you armchair quarterbacks can keep talkin your trash, but until you come over here with us and toe-the-line...then it is all for not. oh, and the poppy fields...yes its a major crop and source of revenue for this country. sure the taliban can use it...but if we kick their asses (like the operation today), then they cant use it. thats why we do what we do...so people like you have the freedom to express you distorted views on what we do. so shut the hell up and let us do our job. oh and to THE PLAIN TRUTH....you think the taliban is at home with their feet up...tell that to the 4 guys that we caught shooting rockets at us last week....when it was 18 degrees out and 4 inches of snow on the ground...you have no idea about military or tactical operations..stay in your lane. this is coming from a soldier in the United States Army, and have has been to Iraq twice and am in Afganistan for my second time. three words....GET A CLUE!!! To my brothers in arms currently in the operation (the Marines) keep doing great things for you country and if you happen to read the obserd comments these others have made...they cant help being inbred!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  46. god guy

    I'm sure the Taliban knew about this operation well before it was released to the media. They have infiltrated the ANA to some extent and the ANP have been heavily infiltrated. So why not warn the civilians and the Taliban in hopes of saving lives and gaining some intel via commo interception.
    Not burning the poppy fileds is not a big conspiracy or secret. The people in that area rely on the poppies for income there is no more economically successful crop than the poppy. If we burn the fields they lose income and we lose their support. Most of the Talibans money is coming from donations from the Sunni governements and the various terrorist networks. The opium trade is estimated to be at about $100 million per year and not all of it goes into the hands of the Taliban.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  47. To some dude

    Well, guys they couldn't get out if they wanted to because we surrounded the city.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  48. Simon

    Hullo friends, I have some work to do in Afghanistan. I do software engineering work. I will be involved in deploying a system, and train the locals on how to use it, plus giving support for it. When would it be safe for me to go to Afghanistan? I need some advise. Simon.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  49. anon

    As much as CNN does good work when it comes to war stories it sometimes to need to shut the yap. Because maybe we could win some battles is secrets were kept!

    HOORRRAAH to the troops. Kick some Taliban butt!

    February 13, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  50. Rob

    Top Luck to the Marines going in there but during the interim media blitz, the British & Australian craphats have already been in, left a few surprises for the Taliban at appropriate moments & tabbed a few officers and left RF jammers & markers cause / aid chaos just like prior to the Kuwait & Iraq wars. They don't go in with flags & banners waving, they prepare the path then creep away. Not by strength – by guile. hats off to the unseen shadows too.

    February 13, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  51. c shannon

    Dude read the article they dropped leaflets several days ago warning the residents about the coming attach this report isn't helping the taliban, last time I checked they did not read CNN news...

    February 13, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  52. cultavix

    What is so new about this? They did this same kind of thing at another "stronghold" a few months ago. They will just set up another one...

    February 13, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  53. steve

    The media is an easy target but its the US/MultiNational command in Afghanistan that's putting out the information to the media - including international. If CNN wasn't printing it BBC, Al Jezeera, and others will. As a former military officer I. too, find it odd to announce an offensive. It is however, the choice of our senior officials inside Afghanistan to do so. Maybe we'll find out why eventually.

    February 13, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  54. binladin10000

    The US and Britian hated Taliban and AlQaidq bec'se only they slash and beat their faces on colony and unjustice policy surfer by Plastine people around over 60 years.nobody can defeated resistance which rooted in it;s own population ,remember Vietnam,Afghan government=saut Vietnam government ,Taliban=Vietcon,pakistan= nort Vietnam and Nato combined army =Crusade,history is repeated and the human doe't learned.INsha-Alah.

    February 13, 2010 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  55. Aaron

    Its obvious the intel you guys talk about is not intel to begin with. If NATO wanted to go in quietly they would have done so. NATO has its own strategy, whatever it may be. We're not experts on warfare strategy so just leave it to the experts. What we can do is hope for a fast end to violence and that the occupation of Marjah will really put in the dent in the operations of the Taliban.

    February 13, 2010 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  56. Don Fannin

    Before writing this I clicked on the "Remembering the Fallen" link. And I do truly appreciate the sacrifice they and their families have made. I do also agree that in 2001 we had not choice in this war. bin-Laden and his ilk had to be found and punished. But I fail to see why now.

    The Taliban however little they are like us and however little we like them is as close as the Afghan people have had to a domestic national government in the last 50 years. The Puppet government the Soviet's set up wasn't legitimate and neither is the puppet government we set up.

    We in the West do not seem to realize that Afghanistan is not a Nation-State. It is an area that is ruled by tribal leaders. When we set up this fake government we tried to give it some legitimacy by calling the ancient "parliament". It was a council of tribal leaders. It was like calling the British House of Lords together and saying they represented the country. The Unfortunate Truth is, they did.

    Come home. Leave them alone. If bin-Laden shows up send in send in a drone or special forces to get him. I don't like Islamic Law, but I don't like Jewish Law or Christian Law, it is there country, it is their regligion.

    February 13, 2010 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  57. Andy

    And how do you think the media knows about it? If it was intended to stay secret, it would have. 🙂

    By alerting the media and the rest of the western world of this operation in advance, it also alerts the enemy. When the west has such enormous eavesdropping capabilities, it is easy to point to an area (Helmund province, for example) and vacuum the communications overlay from the population.

    Now that they know, unquestionably, that they're about to get smashed, you don't think their radios and sat phones are going to spike?

    February 13, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  58. Joan

    The US and Britian are turning Afghanistan into a wholesale killing field to rid off the Muslim population. That's their real motive.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  59. Dave

    What a whole scale slaughtering of the frightened chickens. Using Taliban as a alibi the real motive behind it is to eliminate at least 35% of the Muslim population. The British has been planning on this ethnic cleansing for a century.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  60. Donna4843

    A province in China will become the #1 opium producing area of the world if Marja fields are destroyed. Maybe we will use the crop to squeeze China...war is sick.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  61. Gerry

    The idea it sems is to oust the Taliban from Marjah not to totally destroy the city. By informing them of their arrival they've accomplihsed this before they even get there. As for the Talibans that leaves along with the residents, that'll be their next problem.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Frank

    For those of you concerned about the media saying "too much" about military operations ... keep in mind that the media generally cooperates with the military's requests for silence and therefore the media gets to "embed" themselves with the troops. So when you head something it's usually because the military commander was OK with releasing it. Also think about the fact that it's sometimes a tactical advantage for your enemy to see you coming. In this case, they might get less civilian casualties and some enemies might abandon their posts. That's a great way to win a battle.

    Having served in the military I understand the concern about too much getting out which could put our troops in danger. But, generally speaking, we only hear about what the military approves for media release during an ongoing operation.

    Go NATO forces!

    February 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  63. the plain truth

    This is no major offensive agaisnt the taliban most of the taleban arent there . Its winter . Theyre mostly either at home with the feet up or in aghan army uniforms getting paid and fed until spring comes and the fighting season starts again. This is a propaganda move . Theyve even broadcast it long in advance in the hope most remaining taleban will take the hint and go somewhere else till its over . Its just to make it look to the folks back home that theyve acheived something . Its grand old duke of york stuff .

    February 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  64. the plain truth

    100,000 people it will never be known how many innocent people will die, more than likely 10times that of 9/11, and to think most of these innocent people have never known of the twin towers is a bigger shame

    February 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  65. John

    I don't think that there is any breach of information or recless reporting – but I don't like CNN (you would have if you could have).

    This attack has been leaked or been "out there" for quite some time to give the innocent women and children (and disenchanted men) time to get out of there. What does the Taliban do? The do not permit families to leave, of course. The Taliban, Al-qeada, and the rest of the Islamist are cowardly, worldly, and beastly human beings. I hope that this is never lost on the public and it is good to see that Afghan's are fighting along side of U.S. Marines, the Brits, and other coalition forces. Down with the Taliban and Islamists!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  66. dave

    i am a marine ,and my son is also a marine in afghanistan,the reason why this info is out there is because the rules of engagement for marines and other forces are not to return fire if civilians are in harms way,the taliban knows this and will shoot at marines while hiding behind civilians.so if there are no civilians in the town the enemy will be destroyed quickly with minimal casualities. to us and nato forces.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Hef

    #1 and #2, if you were up to speed on current events in Afghanistan, you would know that McChrystal and Co. made a conscious decision to release all of this information to the media. Clearly, they are confident in their ability to successfully counter the Taliban defenses (Have you seen the Breacher?). Further, they've stated that the expectation is that the "pay check" militants to lay down their arms and leave. What they're not saying explicitly is that this whole operation is meant to be an easy morale/pride boosting operation for the Afghan national army and the Afghan people. So, while I would normally be as ticked as you about the media releasing this kind of information, this has clearly been part of the strategy. We'll see soon enough how well-thought out it was...

    February 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Art Adams

    Good luck to our boys Give 'em Hell

    February 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  69. gaidurgis

    my brother is over there fighting for US. the stuff he does is to better the plans of finishing up over there and coming home. he is in Marjah right now. all i got to say is i hope everything goes well and he comes home in 1 peace

    February 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  70. McCain-in-4

    People need to brighten up. The last time a sitting President made a military mistake of epic proportions was George Bush landing on Aircraft Carriers. Before that was George Bush's "Bring It On" speech, and before that was Ronald Reagan's Stealth Technology leak to the world's media. If the Military is informing the Media on this matter, I would trust it was for very exceptional reasons.

    February 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Eddie

    Dude has made a very good point. Military operations are NOT suppose to known by anybody. Now that the media has already announce the operation, the enemy has all the time to put road side bomb for the coalition forces.I apologize by saying internet has brought more harm that good in some ways. Marjah city is a nearby to Iran who by any way has the capability to bring bombs and give to the Taliban troops. Free speeches are not needed in any military operations. Journalist should stay away out of the military plans of action and when everything is finish they can now come in and do their job.
    God bless the coalition.

    February 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Mike

    We did the same thing in Fallujah in 2004. I was in the Marines then, and we let everyone know that we were coming in. Civilians were told to leave and take everything with them. All others who stayed behind would be treated as enemy combatants. They knew we were coming, they just didn't know when. It worked...for the most part. There were still some innocent civilians who couldn't afford to leave, but they were easily identifialbe. It made things a little less complicated, but by no means easy. Semper Fi to all who are heading there and all who have served.

    February 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Bamer1usmc0311

    When one Marine dies, we multiply. Thats what the Taliban doesnt get. We just keep coming. They should give up now. Lol. Look at the Battle of Fullujah, we just kept coming. When we were supposed to invade Ramadi, in 2007. We had units from Habbinayah in the south, and units coming in by the day, They were all going to Ramadi. Look what happened, Al-Qeada left. They dont want to fight with Marinnes. While doing contracting work in Afghanistan, I was listening to the regular walk e talkies with my interpertor. This was when the Marine units came back into Afghanistan. We heard the taliban talking. It went like this.. " there is Americans coming in here!, should we attack?" some one replied. No you dont want to mess with those guys, they are Marines. All in all... It is a fun time to be a Marine. Dont be sad if anyone is killed, they were doing something they loved. It is the greatest way to leave earth dying for your country. Instead of having dimensia in a hospital. I hope we pitch a shut out in this offensive.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  74. Jon in CO

    You want to know why they left the Opium fields? Our drug companies. They use opium for Vicodin, Oxycotin, Moriphine and other heavy duty pain medications. Our countries health care is so bad, the only thing people can afford is a treatment for a symptom and not the cause. Ow, my knee hurts, here's Extra Strength Vicodin, now stay off the leg until it doesn't hurt any more. This happens a few times and now we have people hooked on perscriptions. So, if you don't want pain medications any more, feel free to get rid of the Poppy crops. Reform our health care to stop medicating for symptoms and actually cure what afflicts us.

    I Hope our guys on the ground level everything in that town. Leave no hole blown up. With as much as we are spending on the war we could easily rebuild the town afterwards. Unless we get contractors that charge 30,000 for a toliet seat again.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  75. Elmer Morrow

    @ A. Smith couldnt of put it any better, the hell with the crops, destroy and depart, hell we help build the fields that now grow this crop anyway... Semper FI

    February 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Joe M

    My Son is over there at the moment with the 3/6 l company He knew exactly where he was going 3 weeks before being deployed.
    He has been there over a month and says the same thing , They know we are coming they just don't know when. It will happen the way its supposed to happen This is a huge NATO offensive and they are trying to spare civilian. Good on them .. This won't be a day at Disney World for the Taliban. They have to understand what is about to happen!
    "Semper Fidelis "

    February 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • AMMoratalla

      There is no better unit than 3/6.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  77. A Marine

    They dont know when we are coming but I can tell you they are waiting two more units to hit the area and then it'll happen. Its winning hearts and minds – the US is hoping the enemy will at least disperse somewhat before we enter making it easier to take it over with less civilian casualties.

    February 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  78. A. Smith, Oregon

    Clear out the Taliban but the CIA has ordered American and Allied troops to leave the Poppy Fields intact? That's some war plan alright. The Taliban collects billions of dollars to re-equip its forces and pay its lackys to attack American and Allied troops specifically from the sales of Opium. And where does a large amount of that Heroin end up? Its flooding grade schools here in America in the form known as 'cheese heroin' designed and targeted for America's grade school children.

    We have First Lady Michelle Obama issuing a National Security concern over snack foods and Pepsi's in America's grade schools. What about all of the cheap Heroin that is flooding into them, aren't you concerned about that?

    The US AirForce should be bombing every Opium Poppy field thru-out Afghanistan that it can locate. The Soldiers on the ground should be making certain all Opium depots are destroyed, all opium poppy seeds are incinerated and no Opium Poppy field is intact in any area the troops have boots on the ground.

    The Obama administration needs to say hell no to the CIA and destroy every Opium Poppy field in Afghanistan to stem the flood of Heroin into America's rural and inter-cities.

    February 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  79. unknown

    I see your point juli... I appreciate what your son is doing for all of us! and wish him a safe return home.

    but my earlier comment stands the media simply provides more then enough information on the tactical situation that shouldnt be out for the world to see. it puts my brothers in more danger with the information then without. (just my opinion) but I do see your point.

    February 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Juli

    I have been reading about Marjah because my son, who is a US Marine, is in Afghanistan. The information about the mission has been out there for weeks because we want it out. We are hoping the civilians and any "weekend" Taliban will leave. This has been purposely out there.

    February 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  81. unknown

    I agree with some dude... the media is puking out so much of our forces operational status its sickening!

    the terror groups have access to internet and own and operate their own sites.

    our media is doing more harm then good by telling the whole world our operational standings. its stuff like this that makes me never want to read anything from any media group because its nothing but bad news anyway and then they top it with what our military is going to do and how they plan to do it. ridiculous

    all the intel the enemy would EVER need is right here on the internet.

    February 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Some Dude

    I understand about the American People needs to know but this kind of information through the Media letting the whole world before it happens is like hinting the enemy to escape.

    Thanks world wide Media, thanks CNN for providing Al Qaeda about this so that they could put more bombs in place and escape to their safe havens in nearby countries that Allied Forces can't catch them.

    February 9, 2010 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |