February 12th, 2010
05:11 PM ET

NATO troops launch major Afghanistan offensive

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan –NATO troops in Afghanistan launched their biggest offensive of the war early Saturday, attacking what they call the last Taliban stronghold in a war-scarred southern province.

Military officials said the offensive—dubbed Operation Moshtarak— got under way at 2 a.m. (4:30 p.m. ET Friday). By about 8 a.m. (10 p.m. ET Friday) two firefights had erupted between the Taliban and U.S. Marines in Marjah.

The offensive turned a main bazaar near the city center into a ghost town after residents were warned to leave the area. NATO forces said they are following a directive not to shoot at civilians, some of whom are still on the streets.

"Insurgents who do not accept the government's offer to reintegrate and join the political process will be met with overwhelming force," the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command said in a statement. "However, the strongest of measures will be taken to protect the civilian population."

Some of about 15,000 troops from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Afghanistan attacked Taliban targets in and around Marjah, a city of 80,000 to 100,000 where the Taliban has set up a shadow government, coalition military authorities said.

"Marjah is the last enemy sanctuary in the Marine area of operations," said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan commanding general. "This operation is designed to reconnect the people of Marjah with the legitimate government of Afghanistan. We are fully partnered with the Afghan government for this operation, and we have the resources we need to be successful."

The Afghan government described the offensive - carried out in central Helmand with the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, ISAF Regional Command (South), and the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team - as "clearing" operations. Moshtarak, a Dari word for "together," symbolizes the fact that combined forces are serving alongside one another.

The coalition said its troops expected to confront up to 1,000 entrenched Taliban fighters. It expected foreign Taliban fighters to battle to the death but is prepared for local Taliban members in Marjah to try to escape.

“We will follow the enemies and bring them to justice,” said Gen. Mohiyiden Ghori of the Afghan National Army.

In the past few days, forces from Afghanistan, Britain and other nations have conducted air and ground operations to prepare for the assault and dropped leaflets in and around Marjah warning residents not to allow the Taliban to
enter their homes.

The allies had been unusually vocal in describing their plans for the assault. (Related: Why the military publicized operations)

“I think there’s a certain strength in the Pashtunwali culture just from laying it out there in saying, ‘Hey, we are coming. Deal with it,’” U.S. Marine Gen. Larry Nicholson has said.

Some of the 30,000 additional U.S. troops that President Barack Obama sent to Afghanistan will take part in the fight.

The goal is to force the Taliban from Marjah so that people there can live free of Taliban influence and drug traffickers in a province with a major source of the world’s opium. It’s an example of a U.S. strategy to focus on population centers and separate the Taliban from Afghan civilians. (Related: Why Marjah, why now?)

“It’s about the security of the population, not fighting down insurgent numbers,” British Gen. Gordon Messenger has said.

About 3,000 U.S. Marines are involved in the fight.

The advance notice given to residents will help avert civilian casualties, a problem that has hurt the military’s credibility among Afghans. They are also trying to get those Taliban who aren’t hard-core to turn in themselves and their weapons.

Reaching the battleground could be one of the biggest challenges for NATO and Afghan troops. It’s a tough terrain hard to cross with tanks.

The town of Marjah is surrounded by a deadly ring of roadside bombs, military officials say.

They say the Taliban has had months to plant bombs in the ground, most of them homemade mixes of ammonium nitrate, shrapnel fuel, salt or flour.

Such bombs have caused about 80 percent of the deaths in past fighting in Helmand province, military officials said. They are detonated remotely or by pressure plates.

“This is possibly the largest IED threat NATO has ever faced,” Nicholson has said.

Massive armored vehicles, called assault breacher vehicles, were to lead the charge into Marjah, coalition authorities said before the offensive.

The tank-like vehicles can destroy roadside bombs. Even with their help, though, military officials have increased staff at the hospital at Camp Bastion, in the capital of Helmand province, in anticipation that roadside bombs would cause casualties.

Troops also expect to encounter booby-trapped houses, as well as fierce urban combat.

soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. GV

    Why do we broadcast these kinds of things? As if our people over there didn't have enough hardships, lets make sure our enemies know when and where we are coming. Today's media has a real need to understand restrain, and we all need to get out collective heads out of the quagmire known as "political correctiveness". Not one person's life is worth a rating. The government, military, and media need to shut the you-know-what up, and let get done what needs to be done. World War II would have had a far different outcome if it had been treated the way combat has been treated as of late. Any previous war for that matter.

    This makes me sick. We live in a world where any military man or woman's life lies in the balance of what a website that anyone can access happens to put up. Who needs a scanner, radio, or gathered intelligence, when you can just punch in a few letters in a web browser and find out what your enemy is doing? My heart goes out to all military men and women fighting this scourge. Thier job is made so much harder by ignorance on the part of media and political correctness.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alan

    Right on, finally we're going to take and hold all of the territory in Afghanistan – one key step towards possibly winning this war after years of inattention by the prior administration has put us at risk of losing it (to the people who actually did attack us on 9/11 not the ones that liars told us did (Iraq). This is due to: 1) finally having a strategy of how to fight this war and win; 2) finally resourcing our military with the men and material they need to realistically have a chance to succeed; and 3) finally having commanders who understand the challenge they are up against and are creative in devising means to deal with it. The first 2 change are due to President Obama and his national security leadership team. That is their role, get the strategy straight and provide the resources for the strategy to work. How to achieve the strategic aims tactically is why we have commanders in Afghanistan, it is their role. For those who would denigrate President Obama, you do not understand how wars are fought, the role of our civilian leadership and the disrespect you show our commander in chief in time of 2 wars is shameful.

    What we have always had in Afghanistan is brave soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors. Now due to improved leadership they have a chance to succeed.

    Army (Military Intelligence) Vet

    February 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Yona

    Will pray for all Solders in Afg. Every one keep them in your Prayers

    February 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Walt

    Hey Mike Appelhans, the USA never funded the Taliban. We funded the mujahadeen who were made up of all the different Afghan ethnic groups (Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras), The modern Taliban didn't come into being until 1994, well after the Soviets left. One of the muj groups that got the most funding from the USA was led by Ahmed Shah Massoud, who later became the leader of the Northern Alliance, a group that never stopped fighting the Taliban. Massoud himself was assassinated by Al Qaeda two days before 9/11. I will cede the point that some of the groups that went on to form the Taliban were once mujahadeen that received US aid, but the Taliban movement as we know it today wasn't around during the Soviet war. They showed up in '94 and started enforcing their crazy strict brand of Islam. Unfortunately for Afghanistan, after the Soviets left and the warlords kept duking it out, the Taliban were the only ones able to bring peace to 90% of the country. Even more unfortunate for the Afghan people, the Taliban refused to hand over their Al Qaeda buddies following 9/11 and have since declared their solidarity with those nuts, so screw 'em. Get some in Marjah Marines.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AfghanWarrior

    Everyone here is praying for US and Canadian forces.. but they have put a blind eye to the fact that every ground war in afghanistan since the invasion has been fought by the brave afghan soldiers and anti taliban warriors who are on the frontline.. You have to realize that if it wasnt for the Afghans themselves .. The entire world with Nato would have never been able to subdue the battle hardened mountain gorilla wariors of taliban.. Alexander the Great with 200.000 soldiers Couldnt!!!
    So try to respect those afghans also who have sacrificed more soldiers than any other nation in this war.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Terri

    Stay safe L/Cpl Aaron, I love you

    February 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    Kick a$$ Michael. Go 5th Stryker Brigade, 4th Bn, 23rd Infantry Regiment. We are proud of you.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Morgan

    Every time we kill one resistance fighter, ten more take his place. Our stated goal of "eliminating the Taliban" is utterly rediculous. No amount of unmanned drones or bribery will prove to the patriot of Afghanistan that the invader should be met with flowers. These people we are killing today had nothing to do with 911. Ten years ago we were attacked by a Saudi. We shifted some blame to the Taliban, we went in and toppled them. It's done. Our puppet regime is in place. It's done. Now, keeping permanent bases and going about killing anyone who will resist us isn't making us any more righteous. Do you really believe that this battle or any other battle is going to win this war? Ridiculous. Every battle thus far has only created a few casualties among the resistance, many civilian casualties, and the loss of our good reputation. Our actions also have proven to help the recruitment efforts of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is foolish to believe that operations like this one will lead to victory. It hasn't worked in 10 years. It didn't work for the Soviets. It will never work.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guy

    There may be only 2500 Canadian Troops there but trust me they will be the toughest 2500 any one will want to mess with. Allong with our allies we will show the Taliban that fear does destroY Courage and freedom.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Still Navy

    Chuck M Thank you for your posted reply to Staff's response. I was working on mine but yours was a better post. Mr. gaylord must be about 5 years old if he don't remember 9/11/01. The reason we sent troops to Afganhnistan. I'd prefer sticking it to the terrorist leadership before they have a chance to blow up my living room. For that I THANK the NATO forces!
    This story makes this effort more important

    and this story explains why civilian casualties might be high

    Reading the article it appears these civilians know the enemy but yet do nothing to stop them. In an American neighborhood they would take back the community.
    As noor's post: I would gladly stand alone to prevent another 9/11 attack. as for the poor starving afghans see the above MSNBC article. They know the enemy, they allow the decay of their city and government. now to protect our life we have to help them rebuild.

    MOM 4R MARINES Bless you. Anchors Aweigh!
    Peace through superior defense.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. george

    oorah

    February 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BG

    I pray for my husband and soon to be father of our first child who is there fighting in Marjah... May god watch over all of the soldiers fighting this war and give us families here at home some peace to know that our men will come home safe...

    February 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    May all people in this conflict be spared pain and suffering,

    An offensive by NATO forces signals a new initiative by coalition commanders to eliminate Taliban strongholds and that is to be admired, any position of strength requires an assault...by helicopter, foot, or armor...but aside from the tactical side of the event comes the human side. As the son of a combat Marine from Vietnam, I was raised to understand or atleast the best I could understand violence as the absolute last choice of a rational and good human being...my father (and I) who will to their last day support their brothers in arms. AND not always by what they are sent to do, but by what they are exposed to and may be asked to do by others. I am encouraged and discouraged at once by the shouts of "get some!" If you are encouraging men in service to seek kills and death then I am saddened by your message, and I hope you hope they get their mission completed to bring peace and stability to all involved with no bloodshed at their expense and morals. Perhaps this may seem naive, but as someone who feels priviledged by the lessons afforded him by the sad chapters of his father...a hope to all involved for a safe returna to wherever you may call home, and a call silence of arms to put young spirits out of harms way.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Raja

    Jean K.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    Gulshan Singh

    February 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. C. Carroll

    GOD SPEED, our prayers are with you !
    Semper Fi

    February 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Matthew

    This is the war we SHOULD have been fighting all along. Iraq was Bushs money maker; Afghanistan is Americas war. Go with god, brave men and women, and return victorious.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  17. People

    I think this action will short period frighten them,Do not forget that they are guerrillas!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  18. J Millan

    HOO-RAH!!!! I'm on the shelf boys but wish i could be there with u guys.... keep praying for our MARINES!!!!! GOOD TO GO!!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  19. gougou

    TO ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN UNIFORMS WHO ARE FIGHTING THE TALIBANS NOW,
    GOD WILL PROTECT YOU AND AMERICA IS PROUD OF YOU.
    GO GET THEM!
    FINISH THE JOB AND COME BACK SOON.

    WE LOVE YOU ALL

    Gougou, the authentic!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. jentutt

    My son is with 1/3 Bravo USMC. Tonight he fights for his country, his fellow Marines and all of us. May God be with him, and all the other incredible forces facing the enemy in and around Marjah in the coming days.

    Why is it that I am searching high and low for information on the tv.....finding almost NONE. 5 minute bleeps and that is it. We have thousands of men walking into IEDs, booby traps and bullets and the Press isn't giving it but 5 minutes and maybe the 'ticker' one liner??????

    How many families are petrified tonight? How many of us are sick with worry??? Yet the lead story is scum bags in Haiti and the Olympics , while our Marines and Soldiers are dying tonight! Have we forgotten why we are there? Have folks really forgotten 9/11????

    Please pray from my Adam and all of our boys.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Navy Chief

    Never forget that the ones over there are why you can post here and have your opinion. The great ones don't ask for thanks, they just do their job, Never forget the fallen and may the higher beings watch over all involved tonight there and around the world.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Fabio

    God Speed! Good lucky from Brazil!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  23. ProodToBeAnAmerican

    John Lindauer. It can't be said any better than that that.
    GOD Bless our troops and everyone with them.
    This is not the time for politics.
    To all the families of our military men and women. We are prood of your Sons, Daughters, Husbands, Wifes, Moms, and Dads. I pray that GOD will protect them all.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  24. beersonwall

    I really don't understand why we need to police the world with wars we cannot afford and cost young Americans lives. We need to take care of business at home. I work for the website Storyburn where the wreckage of job losses and home foreclosures comes to roost and I have to wonder, what if we spent the $3 trillion in Iraq on our actual economy. Troops wouldn't be in danger and everyone would be employed

    February 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Blackhawk

    Go get em boys. My thoughts and support for all Coalition troops!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Greg

    God Bless and stay safe. Now kick ass and take names. Semper Fi

    February 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Jim

    Anyway you want to chalk it up, our current President endorsed his Generals recommendation and sent more troops to Afghanistan. THAT IS FACT.. LIBERALS were not fans of this idea, but the pragmatist in him LISTENED to what his people in the fight told him. Take it to em boy and come home safe!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  28. RealCatholic

    @ Jay & JMAC – You know, it's amazing how you look at a depression the Republicans said was inevitable being averted and our global standing being improved by this President's policies (which actually made this global effort possible in Afghanistan), and say he's done nothing.

    That reminds me of what my grandfather endured when he came back from WWII, after serving in a segregated armed forces which was ironically fighting nazi's and facists!! He, too, was treated as though he had done "nothing" for the country he loved and served, despite 12 confirmed German air victories and a slew of medals and commendations.

    So, before you continue to dishonor those who are fighting for our ability to elect the first African American President who HAS done a WHOLE lot to get this country moving in the right direction, think about all the money spent and soldiers lost by the last administration to get us into this mess in the first place...who's going to foot THAT bill?

    February 12, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  29. PJ

    and how dare you noor and WARsux: it was the Taliban that allowed al Queda to organize and train their operatives. Like it or not we are at war...support it as a country

    February 12, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Amber

    My sister is there right now working as a medic. I couldn't be more proud that she'll be giving any wounded hereos the love, support, and care they will likely need following this attack. Godspeed to everyone invoved who is fighting for what is right. I pray the full armor of God will protect and shield the American, Canadian, and Afghan soldiers throughout this battle. Thank you my sister Angelina!!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Robert

    Thank you to all who are serving and have served. To protect the freedoms we have in hopes of giving those freedoms to others can have no higher honor. You are all truly the meaning of the word hero and I have the privilege to write this because of all who have gone before. May God Bless You and keep you safe. Best wishes.
    RT

    February 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Steve

    I'm proud of all the soldiers who are part of this operation. You are freeing the civilians who are basically being forced by the Taliban to farm poppies for drug money. Thank you for keeping the Taliban from power, as the would allow people like Osama Bin Laden to use their country to train more terrorists.

    For those who didn't read, this operation was never intended to be a secret. Don't get mad at the media for doing what the military had intended: advertise what was going to happen. This will help prevent extra civilian casualties, and also shows the people of the area that the Afgan government supports them.

    May God bless all the troops who fight in support of freedom, no matter what country you come from.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Bobby

    Thank all of the people fighting in the war. Thank them for their action to help America live in a free world.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Charlie K

    Both my son and son in-law served in Iraq twice and still in service. I am proud of them and all of our boys. God bless our soldiers. Give them hell and come back home safe!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jay

    When will Obama or Biden pick up a weapon and lead are troops into battle won't happen Commander in chief Lol.The news did what the military wanted them to do we only know what's goingon one of thee ways leaked or against are troops.When was the last time we heard of goings on in AFG. There was always news from Iraq They can never do right in the eyes of pacifist but it's those troops that give you the right to place judgement on them It's called fredom. If you not willing to defend this country and pick a weapon you are not deserving of the freedom that so many shed there blood and lifes for May God have mercy on your souls.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  36. PJ

    Everyone should support the war in Afghanistan. THIS is the war on terror against those who attacked our country. God bless our troops who are fighting to protect the rest of us, even those who criticize what they are doing. Shame on anyone who opposes this offensive and puts doubt in the mind of those who are willing to die for us. This is not about democrat or republican (coming from a democrat), this is about America. Semper Fi Marines and godspeed to all coalition troops!!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Paul

    God Bless America, Freedom will be the way of life there soon!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  38. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    I am proud to be an American. My thoughts are prayers are with our troops and the others with them. Now to all the stupid people on here. These men and women are fighting so you can have the freedom to speak your mind. So shut-up and show them some support. If you don't like it why don't you move to China or Iran and see how long time takes for you to be put in jail or killed for speaking your. We American take our freedom for granted. This counrty woke up when the earth quake hit Haiti. Geeh it is like it huge suprise that Haiti was a poor country. Thank you to all that helped Haiti. We woke up when 911 happened, but most people go about the normal day like it never happened. We are a blessed country. We haven't had a war on our soil. No I didn't forget about the Civil War. Bless our Troops. Before any of you dumba**es make a comment. I lost two cousins durning 911 and have a brother in the military. So if you don't like me speaking my mind go find another counrty to live.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  39. John

    War is defeat for everyone. There is no such thing as a "good" war or a "bad" peace.
    No one prays harder for peace than the soldier. God protect the innocent, help the helpless, and bring life to those who love freedom. I pray all our soldiers and military are protected by the strong hand of our Lord and come safely home to those they love.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Rahul Laroia

    God bless our troops and grant them much deserved victory. This action should have been done seven years ago, Obama deserves strong commendation for doing the right thing after careful deliberation.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Mom of 2 Marines

    GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS, GODSPEED TO ALL OF OUR TROOPS AND ESPECIALLY MY SON OF 1/3 CHARLIE COMPANY USMC, SEMPER FI, YOU ARE IN OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS CONSTANTLY, STAY SAFE, THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU COME HOME SOON!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  42. shawn

    Hey dont worrie a company of Canadian Sharpshooters will be there like we have from the biggining. Longest kill shots in the world cheers will make sure they dont get away

    February 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  43. snappy21

    Good luck guys, we are with You and behind You 100%.

    Proud brother of a US Marine.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  44. LP

    My prayers are for men and women in uniform who are fighting for just cause. I hope we win big.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  45. KD

    I can't believe people are mentioning God and the Lord so much. The people we claim to be fighting are doing the same thing–they think God is on their side. So, why do so many of the people on this blog sound EXACTLY like our supposed enemies? I guess religious fundamentalism is just a much a part of the U.S. as it is in many of the Middle East countries. So, after thousands of years, pretty much nothing has changed–our children are sent to die "in the name of God" on both sides. This is the age of reality, people. Read a book. Get a clue. Learn something about politics and economics. Otherwise, silence yourselfs, because whether you believe it or not, you sound NO DIFFERENT THAN AN ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Whine Lover

    President Palin will lead us to Victory! She's seen all of John Wayne's movies twice!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Scott

    "The Talibans needed to stopped now and forever."

    Wow. And we wonder why we are so stupid as to think we can and should police the world. Our education system might be a factor, eh?

    February 12, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Ayomide

    He who sow wind must reap whirlwind.Go and rout them out of their hideouts and let the whole world live peace without fear or harassment.Enough is enough of this global harassments.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Lewiz

    We will finish the job.....

    February 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Kolawole Ajao

    Good military strategem.Civilian fatality should be well avoided.Best of luck,NATO.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  51. frogman

    give them hell guys, and watch each other's backs!!! hooyah

    February 12, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  52. WorldView

    Some people justfy their own existence and beliefs only through pointing out perceived hypocricies among those with whom they disagree. Example: ridiculing families and friends who invoke God's protective hand over their loved ones who are obediently going into battle. We pray for victory, not because we rejoice in the loss of "enemy" life; but rather in the freedom it offers to normal people who want to live normal lives in peace, and because it means our loved ones are likely to return to us intact. We are dutiful, repsonsible, loving parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who care nothing for hating others but desire only the best for our own. When our sons and daughters are off to war, there is little left within our control. So if we pray for their protection and victory, shed us a little compassion, will you? It sure beats asking our kids to wire up with explosives and blow themselves up in a market. American soldiers consist of a multitude of cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, religious views, and beliefs. Some are die-hard warriors, others compassionate intellectuals, some are poor or lost and looking for a means to make good, others can't shake a deep sense of pride in serving their country, some want to challenge themselves and others think they can help make a difference in this world. The list goes on, but in the end they are all doing their job. Whether they agree with or even understand why their government puts them someplace and tells them what to do, they will earn their keep as responsible human beings doing their job dutifully. Surely that is enough to garnish some respect, not only from fellow Americans but from those they have to face in battle. In other words, whatever your political and religious beliefs...don't hate on our soldiers nor on those who pray for them. In fact, grow up a little! God, give us all the grace to show a little humanity for each other during dark times. Protect our soldiers and return them safely home. Thank you for a glimmer of hope in which our leaders have gone above and beyond necessary to minimize the loss of "enemy" life as well. Amen.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Jay

    My Son went to Afghanistan while America went to the Mall

    February 12, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  54. JMAC

    Pete,Lonnie & warsux do you even know what the hell you are really talking about...The current "Prez" has not done anything for this country except to increase the National debt x3 with bailouts... Funny to high jack a story the way you did..Hoorah Dogwood..

    February 12, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  55. john lindauer

    whether you love bush or obama – it's time to put our politics aside.

    the men and women of america (and many other nations) are fighting tonight – against a determined enemy in an urban environment. they are, truly, in harms way.

    godspeed to our troops – and the nato and afghan soldiers fighting along side them.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Lovin my marine

    GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!!! My hubby is over there and i pray for all them to come home safe!!! i love u baby!! SEMPER FI!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Jay

    I can't believe the hoopla for OBAMA on this page he hasn't done Nothing He is not our Savior only the Lord Jesus Christ is deserving of all praise And the spirit of our American Fighting men and women and Allies Go get them Devil Dogs be the Travel agent to Allah and those 77 virgins Semper Fe God Bless you and keep you all safe. God Bless General McChystal you have a tough job to do

    February 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Gunny T

    Two battalions of Marine infantry going over to the offensive? Better stock up heaven with a whole bunch of virgins, because HELL is coming down on the Taliban this weekend!
    God Bless our Marines!
    SEMPER FI !!!!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  59. paul

    thank you families of men in uniform. you are blessings.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  60. JackieO

    The Talibans needed to stopped now and forever.Because if they are not checked now,they might spill over to other peaceful places of the world.All in the name of religion that claims to be peaceful.May the good Lord grant you victory over these infidels and let there be PEACE around the world.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  61. keith P

    May God protect our troops and may they Taliban find out that the Virgins are ugly as sin

    February 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Mad Max

    Holy. I just woke up from an 11 year coma several days ago and am currently catching up with all the current events. So much has changed. Good luck to and God bless the soldiers.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Mike Appelhans

    This situation is ridiculous. The former Soviet Union went into Afghanistan in the 1970s to help the Afghan people out of the dark ages. They set up perimeters around cities using the Red Army to ward off any Taliban warlords from disrupting these safe zones. Jobs were created in the city, which offered much promise to the Afghan people, especially those being ruled by Taliban warlords. Many of them fled this oppressive lifestyle-living in the hills and mountains always in fear of their Taliban lord. With the Red Army as protection, many people abandoned their Taliban lords; they weren't as afraid of retaliation because they (and their families) could find jobs and protection in the cities. With this PLANNED approach of jobs, rebuilding, and eventually industrialization, the warlords would slowly lose their leverage, and eventually dwindle. In fact, this plan was working brilliantly, just as you would expect. I mean, come on!!! How could a bunch of warriors, literally from the dark ages, with very little to offer their underlings, resist the modern, powerful Red Army who was ready to pull this country out of the dark ages? They couldn't. Well, that is, without the help of about 1 billion dollars a year from the U.S. That's right. For ten years the U.S. gave these warlords about 1 billion a year in military and financial support to fight the Soviets. Over about a decade the Soviets lost about 55,000 people fighting what we today call, "Al Qada." Why? Hmmm. Ask Karzai, the current president of Afghanistan who at the time was on the board of executives of a major oil company. All of this is just nonsense. Almost our entire Middle East policy is about oil; more specifically, about controlling oil. For a good read about this and a lot more (i.e. Iran, Iraq) see, "Killing Hope," by William Blum.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Rajinder Singh

    Sir/Madam
    The courage, bravery and determination displayed by the American Troops and their devotion and dedication to the cuse as well as their sense of duty and responsibilty percisely deserve to be commended by all of us. May God help them to be successfulo in their holy mission.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA

    February 12, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  65. RealCatholic

    @ noor – You sound like Tokyo Rose!!! Can you be so kind as to bestow upon us some criticism that actually makes sense??

    February 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  66. BBB

    Hi All My prayers are with the brave out there and the loving families. I"m one of the civ contractors out here and noted the reduced numbers of troops at breakfast this morning. MayI see all of them back again. Stay safe and go root out these parasites(Taliban) that feed on the Afghan people and the rest of the world.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  67. eddie

    kick some ass!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  68. David

    Ive never understood the media's coverage sometimes. We may as well just give them our entire battle plan up front. I think the media has a responsibility to protect the troops. Not endanger them further. The enemy watch's CNN too folks.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Good get'em!!

    I'M A AFGHAN VET,

    FROM ONE INFANTRY MARINE THAT KNOWS WHAT IT'S LIKE OVER THERE GIVE'EM HELL!!!!

    SHOOT STRAGHT, AND DONE SECOND GUESS!!!!

    STAY SAFE MARINES AND ALSO TOO ALL THE OTHER TROOPS MAY GOD WATCH OVER YOU!!!!

    SEMPER FI

    February 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  70. guest

    There are absolutely Canadians involved in the fighting in So. Afghanistan. I'm a US Marine and I have a lot of respect for the Canadian and British forces serving with us.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Dustin Sutton

    To all the Lemmings praising our "Politician in Chief" President Obama for finally taking action to end the war that W started, just remember that he doesn't know what a Corpsman is, so I sincerely doubt that he was the mastermind behind this offensive, or even really understands what the hell is even going on. Thanks to General Stanley McChrystal. For you peace mongers, he's the man in charge over there and the architect of the shift in strategy responsible for any forward progress against the Taliban from this point on.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Greg

    PETE...YOUR AN IDIOT.....THE GREAT Barack Hussein Obama...LOL..WHAT A JOKE....HERE IS HIS BUDDY BIDEN...SAYING...WITH THE SURGE..WE WILL WIN THIS WAR...WHO THE HELL VOTED AGAINT THE SURGE....BIDEN..AND YOUR IDOL...Barack Hussein Obama.....YOUR A FOOL...

    February 12, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  73. FREEDOM

    THE UNITED STATES IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN AT WAR. THE REASON YOU ARE ALWAYS AT WAR IS BECAUSE YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THE REAL PROBLEM. IT'S IN THE MIRROR. FREEDOM MEANS A MAN CAN DO ANYTHING HE OR SHE WANTS. ANYTHING. 51 PEOPLE DON'T TELL 49 HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES. THAT'S NOT HAS SOCIETY WAS PLANNED. AMERICANS ARE SO RED WHITE AND BLUE BRAINWASHED JUST PULL DOWN OBAMA'SPANTS AND KISS HIS ASS.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  74. gman1

    It's real simple folks,...nobody likes war. But,..neither does anybody like sitting around with a thumb up his/her ass waiting to be slaughtered just because we are not Muslim. The Quran says "find the non believers and kill them when and where you can" Even the rocks cry out "there is an infidel hiding behind me,...kill him" Wakw up folks,...if you don't beleiev in Islam,...they want you dead no matter what. So let's take it to them over there. It's obvious the enemy has no clue about what makes an American tick. But,...they're soon going to find out.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Proud Army Mama

    God bless and protect my son, his battle buddies and the rest of our troops!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Pepinium

    Here's a prayer for all our boys. May God protect them, the very best of us. They are fighthing right now to keep the terrorist scum from bringing their suicide belts into our malls and schools, make no mistake about it. The courage and determination of our soldiers is living proof that America is still the world's best hope !!!

    February 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Mike

    Get some Marines. Oooorah! Semper Fi.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Carl

    for those who say we need our friends, NATO is taking the lead with American troops. This is a league of Nations not the USA alone. Iraq was a war we did not get any support, but Afghanistan is a battle ground for European nations especially they have a whole lot to gain by rebuilding the country and slow down the haroine trade that is killing many European youths. Afghanistan is well supported by our allies. Don't get Iraq confuse from the real battle ground against Al Quedai.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  79. GOD

    STOP KILLING YOUR BROTHERS.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Tim

    First to all of you people think Obama knows anything about war and foreign policy. HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU HE IS IGNORANT ON BOTH. TO THE BOYS IN THE BE SAFE. TO THE TALIBAN YOUA ARE FOOLS AND EVERYONE YOU MUST DIE BTW THERE AIN'T NO VIRGINS FOR YA.

    "KILL EM ALL LET GOD SORT EM OUT"

    February 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Jeremy

    Good luck brothers – I will dedicate a beer to you all tonight. Come home safe.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Micheal

    Pakistani Army should adopt the same tactic in North Waziristan. This time they sould not let Taliban escape as they did in south Wazirstan.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Carl

    This is the war we should have gone and fought eight years ago. I hope President Obama keep his pledge and focus the war back on Afghanistan like it should have been done. The invasion of Iraq only made Iran big mouth bigger. A smart thing should have been to keep Saddam at bay which in turn would have keep Iran at bay while we clean out Afghanistan and Pakistan border of the real threats to the United States.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  84. MarinesMom_41

    PLEASE PRAY FOR MY SON, LANCE. HE IS GETTING MARRIED 3 WEEKS BEFORE HE LEAVES FOR RC SOUTH HELMAND,AFGHANISTAN. PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR EACH & EVERY ONE OF OUR MEN & WOMEN THAT ARE GIVING THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TO US...THE GIFT OF LOVE!!!! OF SACRIFICE!!!
    JOHN 15:13 – GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS,THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Anne

    God Bless you all.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Phil

    Best of luck and thanks to all of our military heroes and their families!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Tcholland

    God bless these guys and I will pray for their safe return.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Ed

    President Obama is tough. He's not backing away from the fight. Remember the Seals in Somalia.
    He's a good Commander-in-Chief.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Wayne

    Got bless all our military. Our prayers are with you and your families here at home waiting for your safe return. PETE, get a life. The one you have now is somewhat pathetic.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Keith

    NOOR – 9/11/2001 – The United States of America did not start this war, but we WILL finish it. It is the Taliban that tortures the Afgan people, it is the radical Islamic groups who shield themselves with innocent people like cowards. It is very hard for the US and its allies to fight a war against groups who have absolutely no regard for human life, the real tragedy is the loss of innocent lives and you can be sure that much more innocent blood has been spilled at the hands of terrorists than anyone else. God bless all the men and women who fight for our freedom and safety. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Sid

    I wish nobody would fight and there wouldn't be any unnecessary deaths. However, we have little choice here.

    While I sit at home these young kids are risking there lives. I feel for them and even more for their families. It must hard for them all. I pray for all of them to return home safely.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  92. al422

    God Bless the troops and the work you do, not just for us but for the whole world.

    The Taliban and Al Qaeda are not just the enemies of the West. They are the enemies of the entire civilized world, Christian, Jew and Moslem alike. We honor and respect those who fight this enemy and make this world a better place for all of us.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Clifford Shingleton

    God bless our troops and keep the civilians safe from harm. As for the Taliban Here comes your JUDGEMENT !!!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  94. sukhdev bhalla

    Our troops are like angels sent by God to kill the devil,The God is with them to sweep the evil spirited ones.God save our troops,God save America.Good luck for our troops.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  95. clr

    I pray for my son, and those he is serving with! I pray for the families left at home wondering tonight. I pray for our allies – the Canadians, UK, French, Spanish, Germans, Afghan Troops, and others who are joined with us in this battle. To all these heros, please know our thoughts are with you!

    I am so proud of my son, yet always will I remain afraid as well, until he comes home to us once again.

    Semper Fi
    VERY Proud Marine Mom

    February 12, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  96. GySgt L

    One shot, one kill. If that dosen't work use the 50! Take care bro's!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Chuck M

    Mitch, just re-read my comment, i was supporting your comment. my entry sounded like i was against you, no way!! You the Man. Sgt C M

    February 12, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Chuck M

    Couldnt say it better myself, MOM 4R MARINES!! Semper Fi from a former (there are no ex) Marine Sgt that saw enough to know what these men and women are going through.

    Nice comment Mitch, dont want to back me, feel FREE to step in front of me, i promise, i wont miss... Sgt C M

    February 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  99. SD

    Be safe comrades. My admiration and respect for each and every one of you out there tonight is not measurable with words. You are in my thoughts constantly. If ever you feel alone, know that Pedro is never too far away.

    February 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  100. David

    Heck yeah! ZEUS is on OUR side! One nation under Apollo! Artemesia Bless the U-S-A! U-S-A!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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