February 14th, 2010
08:43 AM ET

Civilians killed as Moshtarak enters second tough day

UPDATE: 9:50 a.m. ET - Twelve Afghan civilians were killed Sunday when two rockets fired by coalition forces in southern Afghanistan missed their intended target, the International Security Assistance Force said.  "We deeply regret this tragic loss of life," ISAF Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a statement. "The current operation in Central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It's regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost." Read the full story

Coalition forces fired two rockets at insurgents firing upon Afghan and ISAF forces, but they struck about 300 meters off their intended target, ISAF said.  The incident happened in Nad Ali district in Helmand province. 

MARJAH, Afghanistan - The Taliban put up a stiff resistance Sunday as a coalition assault against the militant group entered its second day in southern Afghanistan.

Officials said they did not know how many Taliban fighters remained in the Marjah region of Helmand province, but think they may be in the hundreds - some of whom are holed up in civilian compounds.  Dawoud Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman, said 27 Taliban fighters have been killed. Afghan and international force also discovered 2,500 kg (5,500 lbs) of explosives.

Dubbed Operation Moshtarak, the offensive was launched early Saturday by an international coalition of 15,000 troops including Afghans, Americans, Britons, Canadians, Danes and Estonians.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Lincoln

    Honestly, we should be in both the OIF and OEF theaters of operation. I was in OIF and then transitioned to OEF. I believe honestly that the rules of engagement are limiting, but these are places where they will place a belt bomb on a kid and send it running towards a checkpoint in order to get a few of us, and then kill him and his mom if he doesn't. Those are the people we fight. Whether we support the politics of it, that is wrong, and that is the types of human animals that need to be culled. As far as the Marines, I was Army, and they are the other blade of the speartip. I would honestly prefer this was a joint Army/Marine operation cause, while they are hard headed gutsy buggers, we genrally have better combined arms, and that would save Marine lives. As is, in order to be political, we are going in with the Afghans. If you reread the article, it was a coalition attack (meaning them and us). Had it been US troops that did it, Routers would have had it on the front page of every website in a heartbeat. Because of this, I believe it was not the Americans who are 'horrible shots' as was stated above. Also, if you want a clue about what city fighting is like, look at the picture on the main Afghanistan updates and ask yourself why only 3 marines are firing towards the advance. This is the world we live in and the wars we fight. No enemy will ever try to stand face to face with US military fighting power, so be ready for there to be civilian deaths in ANY engagements we are in.

    February 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe Reid

    Dear Mrs Kulik,

    My son went into Marjah with the 1/6 as well, I don't like the fact that McCrystal has tied his hands with his stupid rules of engagement. I could care less how many of those people get killed, ITS A WAR. It's been going on nearly 9 years and should have ended years ago.I CARE ABOUT OUR GUYS GETTING OUT ALIVE>>>INCLUDING YOUR HUSBAND AND MY SON.

    I'm sure with all your combat experience you can understand where I'm coming from, I say level the place then make nice. If Obama and McCrystal want to win the hearts and minds of the people, nation build, and deliver governments in a box secured by an army that can't read then let them do it with thier kids.

    Joseph Reid
    Syracuse NY

    February 15, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. RT

    If I am a Taliban in ocntrol of that area, prospective invaders can drop as much advance warnings of impending invasions but since I'm in control, no civilians in the area can leave without my permission.

    That missile going haywire – off 300 meters? May be the specialist in control was shaking too much or the technology involved needs more refinement.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Franky NY

    whats going on everyone....well i had read few comments on this page and to me it really isnt fair...first off The troops are over there risking their lives for basically nothing...what is this war gonna prove? nothing......in future times people will just remember about this war or iraqi war ....but who really remembers it is the mother that lost her sons all for nothing..

    believe me ladies and gentlemen wars do not solve anything.
    i hate all the people that kill innocences whether it be on american side or middle eastern side or china or anywhere.....but you need to prove who is bad before firing your weapon..

    anyway this may sound boring or they wont even post this
    but if you guys really new how war is than you will understand me why i dont like wars for anything

    peace

    February 15, 2010 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Greg Cross

    Speaking as a former Marine and who has a son in the corps in Marjah rigt now I would like to say this. The rules of engagement are poor and motivated my polatics, to send people into war and have them hold back is just not right. As my son has told me the Taliban know and understand the rulles. The Taliban know how to work around the rules at the cost of our guys lifes. None of them want to kill anyone other than the Taliban but it is a fact of all wars since time began. A little while ago two Marines were killed when under fire The entire squad never fired a shot due to the Taliban using civilens as shields. So I say let them fight without rules and they will do what they can to avoid hitting civilens up to a point and that point is when your own life is in danger. Everyone wants this war over it seems to me that if were took the gloves off it would be over sooner at the cost of less lifes for us and civilens.

    Greg Cross

    February 15, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lauren Kulik

    Dan,

    I agree that the people have needs that are met by the insurgents. The local population was warned of the IED's and they have in fact told Marines where to find them in several noted instances. The reason we must watch out for the locals is to earn their trust so they realize they can trust their government and not just the taliban to provide the services you mentioned. It's a different approach and hopefully we will find success with it. I am sure some are Taliban sympathizers but that likely doesn't account for all of them. These people have been burned by our government and their own before this is a measure to gain their trust. Why would they walk up and give out info on strategy and placement of IED's when they don't trust us to stay and protect them from their new enemy? This is a mission to build trust more than a mission to eliminate high value targets.

    February 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tony Segura

    Don't listen to the critizem of the party of (NO). I believe in President Obama, our Generals and our NATO troops to prevail.

    Rush Limbagh, Dick Chenny, and Sarah Palin all their deciples would like you fail but the Lord is on the side who is out to do good.

    February 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony Segura

    In order to stabilize the country and bring prosperity for the people of Afganistan some people will die in the process. We have several police and civilians die in the Kansas City area every week and this city is not in the war zone.

    February 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barb

    To all – your comments are all very interesting and some thought provoking. All I can say is that there is so much that you will not be privy too for a long time if ever. My support is 100 percent behind the men who are boots on ground, wings in air involved right now with this offensive. They will do what they need to do and there are good people there that are receptive to the help offered them.

    February 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Mrs. Lauren Kulik, I am sure that the population were warned well in advance that we were coming in probably before the Taliban had time to lay their IED's and if any still remain all they would have to do is go outside and show the NATO forces that they are not armed and help them to find the Taliban that are mixing in with the population. Otherwise they probably are sympathizers with the Taliban who have been giving them support like schooling, health care and food with all the drug money they receive from their poppy fields! I thank you and your husband for your sacrifice. I pray he gets home safely.

    February 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rob brander

    hey fellas, did anybody do a poll with the residents of marjah to see if they wanted the taliban out of their town?we're talking opium country,so lets talk money. those farmers in southern afghanistan are growing it for the taliban's funding . these farmers are probably making good money for just growing the opium,they don't care what happens to it after it's harvested.now back in the states you've got some guy at an armoury plant pressing out shells and bullits to no end.now heres the interesting question,what kills more people a year the opium plant or the shells and bullits.the problem is the afghan farmer is probably have his house destroyed and family members killed[by the sounds of the marksmanship that occured today,shots were off by 300yards, thumbs down to that shooter]these folks lives are going to be turned upside down for simply growing plants,while the guy in states after a day of making bombs and bullits,goes home to gerry springer and a budweiser. the u.s. goverment dumps hundreds of millions of dollars fighting a product they can't suppress ,besides turning a country upside down.just remember folks,did the plant or the bullits kill more people?

    February 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Miss Lauren Kulik, I am sure that the population were warned well in advance that we were coming in probably before the Taliban had time to lay their IED's and if any still remain all they would have to do is go outside and show the NATO forces that they are not armed and help them to find the Taliban that are mixing in with the population. Otherwise they probably are sympathizers with the Taliban who have been giving them support like schooling, health care and food with all the drug money they receive from their poppy fields!

    February 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. linda in AR

    Hey, Daniel Obama is doing just what he said he would do in Afghanistan and what Biden pushed for in Pakistan. He's ending OIF [Iraq] to focus on OEF. Here's hoping he's picked the best way out of OEF.

    Expecting a "surgical" COIN is ridiculous, but the apology is a political necessity. I'm praying for the fewest possible casualties with a positive outcome.

    Until they all come home.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel Fowboski

    This war in Afghanistan needs to be stopped. Obama said he was going to end the war and now he is only sending more troops in. Civilians die all the time in Afghanistan, everyone knows this is the new Vietnam. Americans are slaughtering Afghanistan's population and claiming they are helping them.

    this comment probably wont even be published because this isnt real media.

    February 14, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel Boone

    The madness has begun and it will continue, this is the first of many civilian deaths and not the last. The Taliban have scattered like bees in a bee hive and they will blend into there environment and continue to snipe, bomb and resort to suicide tactics. This will be a very long battle for the NATO super heros who are fighting a very primative force. Millions are being spent by the NATO super powers to fight a caveman like force. This is madness and total overkill. The Taliban are not stupid enough to confront the Marines head on and I know that the Marines would love to have a quik shoot out and be overwith it but the reality is that this will be a long drawn out slog through Hell and terror at every corner.

    February 14, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  16. Lauren Kulik

    I would say that the IED laden roadways which obviously serve as an exit from the city would be a big deterrent for families that probably otherwise would have fled the city before the widely announced and publicized operation kicked off Saturday. I would say that Mr Nelsons' comment is ignorant and formed without broad thought. I fully understand the worry for our NATO troops. My husband is a Marine Corps EOD tech attached to 1/6 in Marjah right now. Obviously the time the insurgents had to prepare effects him directly in the number of IED's he and his team are having to make safe. We have to understand that winning the local populations support is the only way that this war will ever find success. Obviously limiting civilian casualties is priority number one when trying to convince the nation you are occupying that you mean well and truly plan to help and not just seize the city and abandon it effectively handing it back to the insurgents.

    February 14, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  17. Ken

    I find it hard to understand why we are in a war where we instruct our soldiers that they must be cautious when returning fire. If the people of the Afgan area want us there to help them, than they must decide on one of two things, first either give up the enemy, or second get out of the way so we can do our job. I war people die, that is the cruel had fact. The way I read it our soldiers have their hands tied behind their backs. What good is all the great technology and weapontry if we can not use it at the descretion of the soldier on the field. In addition if we know the enemy is in the mountains, hills, caves, and other areas we have a difficult time getting to than send the air force in with the heaviest bombs we have and level the area. However start on the out side perimeter and make the circle tighten as we continue. This plan of attack would probably cost less than what were are spending now and would save a lot of BRAVE MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN.
    Ken / NJ

    February 14, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  18. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I say go into Marjah full force and do not worry about collateral damage. The residents had plenty enough time to get out and those that have stayed behind are most likely Taliban sympathizers and giving refuge in their homes! Only if the Taliban are holding them captive should we be cautious. GO NATO AND MAY GOD BE WITH YOU!

    February 14, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  19. Kolawole Ajao

    Moshtarak(Togethe we will hunt them down)Advance,NATO troops.

    February 14, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |