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. brute force

    Keep it safe, and good luck fellas.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Guest G

    For those interested in obscure origins of military operation names in, "Operation Moshtarak" ,'moshtarak' or 'mushtarak', means 'joint, as in 'joint' operations, not very exciting, but also means ** 'a word with double meaning' **, which may be someone's little joke here, since the Dari language is that of the Northern Alliance, and Helmand are Southern Taliban who speak Pashto, as also President Karzai is Pashto (and former UN ambassador to the Taliban).

    If you were to take some small liberties in translation and code talking, what this operation name really says is not 'Operation Together' as the news suggests, or 'Joint Operation', but:
    Operation You Are Either With US, or You Are With The Enemy".

    Sound familiar?

    And as far as, 'telling the enemy we are coming', this news article appeared in Kabul on Tuesday, so don't get your panties in a bunch, CIA keeps the Home Front mushroomed.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Appelhans

    Yes Walt, you are absolutely correct. I had some facts messed up. The Mujahideen is exactly what I was referring to earlier. The Al Qada evolved or came out of this earlier group. The main point I was trying to make is that the US played a key role in establishing these terrorists organizations. The US destabilized this region in order to secure oil interests. At that time, if I am not mistaken, President Bush Sr. was the director of the CIA, correct? Hmmm, a friend to big oil and an oil man himself, no? Maybe that is coincidence (I don't believe so), but it doesn't matter. It is death that matters, the death of our men and women, and the poor Afghan children (I say children because it is absolutely ruthless–satanic for those that are religious–to wish bloody cluster bomb, napalm, bullet in the head death to children–even though we should have compassion for all our brothers–a reminder for all of those who claim to be Christian (remember that guy Jesus?)), Anyway, if oil hadn't been a secret agenda for the US (and other countries), this situation wouldn't be what it is. This painful cycle of war wouldn't keep going and going. If the US was really concerned with stabilizing this region, they wouldn't be engaging in war. War only ever serves the rich. Large corporations that take our tax dollars (military industrial complex) and our kids (soldiers), and sacrifices them for more big business interests (oil). It is not a coincidence that many of the "big" politicians involved with initiating, voting for, and propagandizing for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are making huge sums of money from these wars. Anyone can research this: Cheney, the Bush family, Rove, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc. are all benefiting tremendously from these wars. Here, think about it in these terms. Each one of these guys will make profits directly related to these wars that will be more than I make in my entire life (oh yea, I'm a mathematics and physics teacher–something desperately needed in the US these days).

    So in conclusion. The American people are being robbed of billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives, because these dollars aren't going to support democracy, or promote freedom. They are being looted on wars that will put huge resources into the control of very few (say, Exxon-Mobile as one example). Read your history folks, educate yourselves, and go use the damn democracy that our labor and civil rights movements have fought for!!! Use is to STOP this madness, to stop wasting all of these lives and money. This is what the troops really need to hear. They need to hear that we are acting democratically on their behalf–to bring them home alive and/or unmaimed. Praises and slogans are not going to stop the killing. If anything, history has always shown us just the opposite.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ann Miller

    Has anyone considered what we've done and are doing, in Iraq (and so many other places around the world)? The Afghanis are human beings with husbands, wives, children, parents and friends just like us! We invaded and destroyed Iraq while killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and people think GOD is leading us to do this? This is insanity! God doesn't tell us to KILL each other!! God isn't on one side or the other; we aren't somehow better than anyone else in the world.

    I pray our troops come home safely and soon, and that the Afghan people can live in peace, without the 700 military bases we've set up in their country, and the terror that comes from having your country invaded by thousands of armed foreigners.

    We're spending billions on warfare and our country has homeless in the streets, people dying from lack of health care, and an economy in a tailspin. If God had any say in all of this, I feel sure he'd rather us house the homeless and feed the hungry, than invade and kill. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought the message in the Bible was something about "loving one another".

    This talk of killing "in God's name" is the height of blasphemy.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    To Noor and all extremist muslims living in the US. Isn't it great to have the freedom to speak your mind, worship how you want to, become successful, not because of your Clan or birthright but because of your achievements. Isn't it nice to have to freedom to do pretty much what you want to do. I presume that's why you live in the US, otherwise why be here. It's called freedom. That's what we stand for.

    Yes, God of Abraham, Yahewh/Jehovah bless our troops in battle. Watch over them, guide them and protect them. War is horrific but it has been waged throughout recorded history by every nation on this earth. My wish is that moshtarak, we make the blood flow in the streets, countryside and mountains around Marjah. When you go into battle, you go to wipe your enemy of the face of the earth or have them surrender. Show no mercy, none will be shown to you.

    Noor, your hero's will run, they will hide under the cloaks of women, they will lash explosives to young children and show what cowards they really are. A few will fight to the death but not many. Do you honestly think the God of Abraham, Allah, will allow a person who performs a suicide act to enter into heaven. The God of Abraham, Allah will not allow that, Individuals who commit such acts will be turned away and the God of Abraham, Allah will say, I know you not.

    To every NATO and Afghan soldier, sailor and airman engaged in this battle I say, Essayons!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tony

    A lot of you don't understand the meaning of Pride and what Pride is all about. How can you be proud of your son / daughter killing innocent people? How can you be proud of your self when you take orders from someone else? How can you be proud when someone is telling you when to jump and when to sit and when to walk? Keep America safe? Preventing terrorist attacks? The Russian were in Afganistan for the longest time and the war was 98797 times worse, but yet have you heard of a terrorist attack on Russian soil? USA is miles and miles away have some logic here please. Leave those poor people alone, let them live their lives the way they want.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mcrib

    Yall really know how to come out of the woods when s*** hits the fan with all this negativity. This was a brilliantly planned out strategy and I really hope it succeeds.I also hope the American people really start to trust this President's mind. With all do respect: Bush was simple by trying to pick a fight just like the typical bully in school and ran up on some real s***. He took peoples lives for granted in order to achieve the goal of killing Saddam. The American people knew better but we took our instincts for granted by giving him eight years in office. If you were a bully all your life then do what you do, but If you're the type to stand up to the bully, then Obama has to be that dude

    February 13, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mrs. Camarena

    TO AFGAHN, WHO POSTED COMMENT 258, I TOTALY HEAR WAT U MEAN ABOUT ALL THIS. WHAT REALLY GETS TO ME IS THE KIDS GETTING KILLED, BUT WHEN U ARE OUT THERE YOU ONLY THINK ABOUT YOUR SAFTY . THINKING ABOUT GETTING OVER IT TO BE HOME.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Adeel

    I appreciate the step of US and alies to conduct the breakdown on Taliban....May GOD help Peace keeping forces....as Taliban are really the bone of contention in my country ( PAKISTAN ) as well...we really wana get rid of them...

    February 13, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jerad

    Yeah, it's all Obama. Nevermind the fact that he knows nothing of military matters. It's the generals and the boys on the ground you should be praising not Obama.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mrs. Camarena

    GOD BLESS MY HUBBY AND EVERY SINGLE TROOP . HOPING IT IS OVER SOON SO MY MARINE CAN BE HOME.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. spudman

    Good luck and God's speed. We're behind you all 100% and praying for your safety.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tony Shih

    To all brave souls over there fighting for the freedom and safety of the Afghan people. My solute to all of you and wish you all victorious. Bring those responsible for the sorrow in that country to justice and may all our brave men return home soon...

    February 13, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. ProudMarineWife-3/6 H&S Jump

    Knowing that so many people are sending out prayers to our troops and their families tonight is such a blessing to my heart right now. Thank you all, my prayers are with all of your loved ones as well!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. marinewife07

    MAY GOD BE WITH THEM.IM SO PROUD OF MY HUSBAND FOR HIS SERVICE AND DEDICATION.AND IAM THANKFULL FOR ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE OUT THERE FIGHTNG FOR OUR FREEDOM MAY GOD BE WITH THEM.YOU WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS

    February 13, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  16. scott (former us navy )

    May some divine power keep you all safe, hopefully most of you can return home to a responsible nation.
    As a former sailor and iraq war vet, i ask you the people who rad my comment to heed these words: Think long and hard before casting votes for war, these wars are fought by people who are soon forgotten by the fat cats on capitol hill.
    Thank you president Obama for promising to bring my brothers and sisters home.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  17. STEVE

    WHETHER ONE MAY FEEL THIS WAR IS RIGHT, WRONG, OR INDIFFERENT THE TROOPS STILL DESERVE OUR UTMOST RESPECT AND PRAYERS. BLESSINGS.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  18. VanessaHostetler

    My husband is doing this Marjah thing right now.:( Im sad.I hope all of the guys arrive home safely.Please pray fro my husband PFC Hostetler.USMC..He has a wife and little boy to come home to.Also pray for all of the other guys there too!Love you guys.Semper
    Fi..

    February 13, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jason

    Oh 3rd world country, how threatening you are, with your booby traps and ak47's .

    I hope for the safe return of our troops, but man, could our government possibly find any more ways to piss people off over there?

    "Let's drop bombs on a town, while dropping flyers that say "we're here to help", and then go shoot up the place." Alright GO Team America!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  20. ben

    Aware of Canadians. And those who weren't can read. The Article specifically mentions Canadians. I thank them.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  21. Proud USMC Wife

    As you get ready to post, consider your harsh words and the effect they will have on others. For every post on here, and thousands more, there is a wife, husband, mother, father, sibling, child, friend, etc. that is up worrying about their loved one tonight that is in Afghanistan fighting this fight that they believe in, myself included. For once, don't look at the politics of the situation, look at it as an opportunity to say a prayer for your countrymen and women. Support the men and women that bravely leave the comfort of their lives to protect our freedoms and to bring that freedom to others around the world. For those of you that doubt this fight, do a little more reading, you won't have to go back far, just today there was a story about the tribal elders voicing their concerns about the Taliban NOT ALLOWING people to flee to safety. One of our founding principles is to protect and support those that cannot do for themselves, that is what our brave men and women are doing tonight. So, as you log off the internet tonight to go climb in your warm bed ready for a great weekend, remember, these men and women are willing to die for you, but you aren't even willing to say an extra prayer or kind word for them. Semper Fi my Marine Corps family, get some Marines and I will be praying for you.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  22. Jon

    Best of luck to our boys, special thanks to our British and Canadian allies, and all NATO soldiers taking part in this operation.
    I wish this to be the turning point in this war, so all our sons, from all countries can come home, and maybe that poor country can finally have peace, without al quida and taliban.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  23. Tony

    What War are they fighting? They are instigating a war. Result: thousand of innocent lives. People need to understand, that cultures differ greatly between the West and the East. It might be ok in North America in your culture for a Father to see his daughter naked at a strip club, there in the East, strip clubs don't exist. In North America, you solve your problem drinking and getting drunk, doing drugs, live on credit. There it is minimal and it is a Taboo. The Russian tried, they failed. Cultures differ. You are trying to force the western culture to the East but it will fail. For example take a body of water. A River and an Ocean. Why doesn't the River become Salty? Why doesn't the Ocean becomes non-Salty? It is good for Wall street and the economy, while your sons and daughters are six feet under.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  24. Paul W

    @Keith: You bet president Obama knew all about this. He receives regular briefings from the Joint Chiefs in which they go into detail about major operations such as this. Obama is known for his sharp intelligent questioning of the Joint Chefs and their presenters.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  25. JT

    The surge in Iraq was needed so counter insurgency included remaining in areas to hold them until local govt and police could take over. It was opposed by many on the left. It worked. Now, President Obama is successfully leading the same method in Afghanistan. Both Bush and Obama deserve credit for doing what makes sense.

    Imagine that. Just don't listen to Biden.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  26. PROUD NABY SISTER

    Thank you! Freedom is always worth fighting for. I love you HOLLY! My sister is in KAF with the Navy. Keep up the good work Corpsmen!!!!!!!
    And give them hell guys!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  27. Marine WIfe

    My husband is based in Camp Bastion. I pray for the safety of all of our brave men and women fighting for freedom over there.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  28. Chris

    i pray for all of them....smash them up!! HOOAH

    February 13, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  29. MOHAMAD

    I AM AFGHAN I HOPE THIS ATTACK CRASH THE TALIBAN TO THE THEIR DEAD........

    February 13, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  30. JB

    My prayers are going out to our troops. They are nothing short of heroes. Love you all!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  31. Chuck

    God bless our troops and grant them much deserved victory

    God make sure we defeat those heathens who aim to invade our country with their great armies, warships, hordes of tanks, and fleets of planes.

    wait, scratch that. God make sure we defeat those people that also believe in the same God that we do, but in a slightly different way, who aim to invade our country with their great armies, warships, hordes of tanks, and fleets of planes.

    no, wait, scratch that. God make sure we defeat those people that also believe in the same God that we do, but in a slightly different way, who aim to invade our country with their vast army that doesn't actually have any tanks, planes,or battleships

    no, wait, scratch that again. God make sure we defeat those people that also believe in the same God that we do, but in a slightly different way, who aim to invade our country with their small army that rides donkeys and begs for money to travel via commercial airlines out of England.

    For surely this evil horde of heathens must be brought down before they grow the awful opium and force our citizens to buy it at ridiculously high prices.

    Yes, God please let us slaughter their troops, even the 18 year old who are old enough to pick up a gun and shoot at our men but have yet to receive your grace or identify where on a map the US is.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  32. Joanne Hill

    to L.Heck: your post-etc. are Canadians who have been heavily involved for quite some time now. Just to be fair.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  33. Marine Girlfriend

    My boyfriend was just sent back to that area after a few week r&r...God bless him and all of the other troops fighting for our freedom. I love you Mike!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  34. netdetective

    WooooooRaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!! Kick butt take names later.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  35. respectDarwin

    Does it occur to anyone that too much mindless praying and too little rational thinking is the root cause of this conflict?

    February 13, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  36. Carl

    For those who trying to make the President look bad, you did not pay attention to his debate with Mccaine? The President did say he would allocate more troops to fight the real war on terrorism which is Afghanistan. Yes he may not be a military man, but he was smart enough to put former generals as his advisors not some civilian buddy he owes a favor. No President is an expert at anything; that is why the President have something called the CABINET...remember that in Civics Class?

    The Republicans and Dems should support the President or even the next President to finish Al Qadai in Afghanistan. If we do not not fix the issue in Afghanistan, Pakistan will be a major issue if the country falls in the hand of the Talibans. Don't forget Pakistan is a nuclear state. We have the full right to be there fighting, because our National Security's future depends on what we do in South East Asia rather in the Middle East.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  37. russell

    i pray for all the lads and woman out there may god look over them all as i cant be with them anymore good luck 2 para british

    February 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  38. Ndango Oliver

    These Arabs and their Taliban related activities need to be handled with iron hands. I am strongly behind the NATO forces to completely push away these terrorist who are on the neck of almost everyone on Earth

    February 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  39. Matt Lock

    Pray for all those with families on both sides of the fight we all need it....

    February 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  40. TJ

    I pray for the all the NATO troops every day in Afghanistan and our church is praying for this mission as well. I have a nephew from Canada that is over there right now.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  41. Chokka

    " God bless the NATO Troops ..! "

    Thanks,
    Chokka

    February 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  42. luis

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU! to all the troops risking their lives so I can live peacefully here. I'm an immigrant from Central America and all I can say is that I truly respect and honor our troops' many sacrifices and efforts to take on the Taliban and bring some hope to the Afghan People. God speed and may you all come home safely very soon!
    P.S. if you don't want this to become politics, don't address it or respond to any idiot's comment about any of this. Republicans, Democratis, keep your opinions to yourself, this is about our troops and their families.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  43. Simon Jordan

    Considering all your photos are of Britiish troops, and that the Welsh Guards, The Coldstream Guards and the Grenedier Guards are sprearheading this battle, you would have thought they deserved a mention. God bless the lot of them Brits, Yanks, Canadians.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  44. Afghan

    As an Afghan immigrant who lived more than 3/4 of his life under constant war/fire, I am ashamed of you rednecks and warmongers for the crap you continue saying, bless this, God that, then in the same sentence, give em hell, kill them...do you guys even know what God says about killings? Nither this war nor 9/11 would've happend if it wasn't for arrogant and trigger-happy US policy in the region...using Afghans against the Sovies and letting them be blown into oblivion and then ignoring them. Do you even know what this battle is about? There are probably less than 500 Taliban in this town, and 100k civilians. The Taliban will get away, because they know how to, but the people who probably live in terror right now are the civilians, probably saying their last prayers before a US or Taliban missile hits their house "mistakenly." These are the people you should be saying prayers for, because they are unarmed, and they can be killed any second now by a bomb from either side... but of course none of you know how this feels because none of you lived under such conditions. 9/11 has scared Americans enough to give them nightmares when it happend thousands of miles from them, but do you know how these people feel right now? Just think about it. Stop being ignorant and racist, and think. This is not Dresden now... this is just a poor farming town who probably don't know world exists outside their town.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  45. Carl

    Who ever said Canada has no reason to be in Afgjhanistan is dead wrong. They have a major problem with the haroine coming out of Afghanistan via europe. The Canadians are fighting their own war on drugs and terrorism at the same time.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  46. dustin

    this is a mainly british offensive, since the war
    helmund provinnce has been the main arena for British forces. God bless the coalition but i wish CNN would recognize who is the real spearhead of ops in Helmund, the the most volitile province in Afghanistan. Its always been us Brits, even the pictures are of Brits. I just wish CNN and other news channels would recognize we are not just a token force. Kudos to the Canadians but in that arena its the brits who carry the offensive to the taliban.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  47. paul

    Stupid Americans. At first , you (CIA) invented "threat of Taliban", then began Afganistan and Iraq. Before your intervention, there was stability. USSR won all battles in Afganistan, but in the end was defeat.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  48. jesseg925@hotmail.com

    From a former fighting Marine (Desert Storm 90-91) veteran to those in harm's way today if you are reading this; stay strong leather necks, stay focused on the prize and get back home safely.

    There are many who stand behind you now and in the future, do what needs to be done and get home.

    You may feel fear at times, you may feel like quitting but remember; there is nothing deadlier than a US Marine except a Marine and his weapon.

    Semper Fi

    JG

    February 13, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  49. Tracy Lee

    I just want to send prayers out to all the troops...and their families... I am a Marine Mom and it's my 1st deployment.. It is very hard knowing your child is in Danger and you can't do nothing to help... I have burried one child and don't want to bury another.. It is in God's hands and I hope that it is not time for Josh to go...Any troop actually!! I just pray that God is listening to all of us and brings Our Son's and Daughter's home safe. I was once told... " The Mothers of Brave Men.. Must themselves be Brave" Before our son left he said.." Mom if they come to our house... (meaning that marine black car) please let them come in and do their job... He hugs me and says I want to do this..." The day I seen him off to this war was the hardest thing I ever did. Now sitting here wondering what is going on just as hard!! I love you Josh xxoo Semper Fi Mom

    February 13, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  50. alex

    Please Pray and bring these guys back home safe , let afganistan and the muslims die on there own bad deeds , why sacrifice our life for them our guys are much more imporatnt to us gob bless america and all nations in that war

    February 13, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  51. shane DEP

    still have 4 months before i go to recruit training and i hate that im missing this assualt..though it does bother me that they're the operation before it even begins

    February 13, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  52. k

    give them hell baby.. i love you so much. please stay safe!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  53. sammy

    give them hell u boys are well trained and we belive to see you all back soon!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  54. Hector Correa

    To My MARINE LCPL HECTOR; Stay stong ,safe,smart .Family Love you

    February 13, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  55. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    AfghanWarrior. You are right and we pray for you and your people as well. But please don't tell me that our troops are not fighting on the ground as well. I know or am related to 10 different people that have fought side by side with Afghan forces. Unfortnately 3 of them are not with us anymore. We couldn't have done this with eachother.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  56. tom

    I pray for the Americans and may God give them all they need to crush these fanatic backward uncivilized criminals.
    The USA will crush these terrorists, they are the cancer of the free and civilized world.

    God Bless America, the only courageous country that preserves freedom and human values in the whole world.

    Tom
    Beirut Lebanon

    February 13, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  57. ju-jube-hard-rokk

    God, watch over our Canadians(and all others). Kick their butts real good!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  58. db

    less Americans will die during the offensive if only they had NOT told the enemy we were coming. one of the best strategies in war is the element of SURPRISE.They should have attacked first then ask the ones that are left if they want to continue fighting or live in peace.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  59. Arab

    May Allah protect the innocent Muslims affected by this war and end the reign of the Taliban and end the War in Afghanistan so that the Americans and iothers can go back to youre countries. I AM NOT Afghan just their concerned Muslim brother.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  60. Marines Mother

    I could argue the politics of this all day but right now, at this moment, I don't care. I pray for the solders, and all of the Afghan people who want more from life then what is now offered to them. People like my son are trying to keep us safe and trying to change the lives of people that he doesn't even know. The reality is 9 years ago we were attached on our home land, we had to respond, was this the right response? I don't know, all I know is we need to pray for those who dared to say, "I will make this my fight and my cause" I will fight so that others may sit home and debate the wisdom of fighting. All of you who have someone you love who is in the military, I pray for God to give a strength filled heart, mind , body and soul, for you and your Loved one
    A Marine Corporal's Mother

    February 13, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  61. perry lee fisher

    This is very interesting something like the crusades on one side the knights of templer cried out in the name of christ and on the opposite side Sallahuddin and his group cried out allah ul akbar in other words just as you are praying for death and destruction of the muslims hey are praying a prayer for your destruction

    February 13, 2010 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  62. Jim Smith

    I'm happy to read so many comments by such a diverse group of folks that are united [for a change] in the hope for safety for the brave Afghan and Western warriors in harm's way, the hope to bring the VERY EVIL Taliban to justice, and the hope for innocent civilians to stay safe. There is still a lot of good in this world!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  63. sandflea

    Feel like I should still be there with you all. Finish this and come home. Godspeed.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  64. sherry

    As a nation we must continue to stay in constant prayer for our soldiers as they fight for our safety, and for the freedom of the afghan people.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  65. Ty the Army War Vet

    I have been in a simular situation in Iraq. This is difficult and take it from me those men and women need everyones prayers. Less than 1% able bodied americans would do what we have done. I SALUTE ALL SOLDIERS PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE......

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  66. JT

    Morgan

    Bombing raids over Tokyo were used to recruit Japanese fighters during WW II. I suppose you think we should have surrendered to stop the recruitment, huh?

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  67. AsIseeIt

    Taliban are like werewolfs when killed they turn into civilians

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  68. Dosa Kim

    Hope the best for a troops and glad we are finally taking care of unfinished business. God Bless our soldiers. Come back safe.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  69. michelle

    Dear Lord,There's a young man far from home, called to serve his nation in time of war; sent to defend our freedom on some distant foreign shore. We pray You keep him safe, we pray You keep him strong, we pray You send him safely home ...Bless those who await their safe return. Bless those who mourn the lost. Bless those who serve this country well, no matter what the cost. God, Bless America! OORAH! PROUD USMC SISTER

    February 13, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  70. MS

    Good luck to our soldiers in Afghanistan! I realize that everyone has a right to their opinions, but there are a lot of hypocrites posting comments here. They refer to Obama in such disrespectful terms, yet I'm sure that during the Bush years they were the same ones that insisted that everyone needed to support our President, right or wrong, during a time of war. Well, it's war now but you insist that Obama is worthy of no respect.

    To those people who applaud this offensive in Afghanistan, yet give Obama no credit, because McCrystal, or other military leaders are the ones running things, you are being ridiculous. All presidents delegate to experts, but intervene when necessary. Obama has changed the direction of the war to Afghanistan, where it belongs, and should be given credit for it.

    Come home safe boys!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  71. JT

    For those of you who don't think there is such a thing as evil in the world, grow up. There are good guys and bad guys. Sometimes the difference isn't clear, but it sure is when it comes to al qaeda and the Taliban.

    The NATO and international troops have my support and admiration. Yes, there are many countries involved, as there were in Iraq.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  72. Patti

    I am so proud of our President and Commander in Chief. And even more proud of our troops who lay it all on the line for those of us at home. I pray for the day they can all come home. At least with Obama in charge I feel it will be done with a plan – not the whole "shoot 'em up cowboy way" of "Mission Accomplished" GWB.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  73. azeem

    May GOD bless everyone there.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  74. Eped

    I'll be praying for all of those men and women who are fighting for us in this operation. God answers and hears our prayers and I will pray every day for the safe return of all of our troops and the well being of their families back home. It is hard to know what it is like until you have someone over there and having my fiance over there has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through. God has graciously provided me comfort during this experience and I pray he does the same for all the other families of troops out there.
    Thank you troops and God bless!!!!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  75. EK

    Show them why we are called Devil Dogs.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  76. norman

    In Gods name I pray for our Canadian, United States of America and all
    our allies that you be strong.

    Do not fear the evil ahead of you because all the angels of heaven directed
    by God all mighty are with you and will fight alongside with you.

    Have no fear God will assist you in a victory over this awful evil regime
    which have killed so many of our young soldiers.

    God is with you, we are with you and the angels are alongside you.

    GOD BLESS AND GODS SPEED...

    My prayer is for all of Gods angels to assist you in this battle waged
    against evil

    AMEN

    February 13, 2010 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  77. Carl

    Let's roll !

    February 13, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  78. perry lee fisher

    Does anyone of you really belive that a poor illiterate sheep hearder is a threat to America
    tHATS BASICALLY WHAT OUR BOYS ARE FIGHTING OVERTHERE,the chances are very slim or next to nothing that anyone of those enemy combatants will ever arrive over here

    February 13, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  79. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    Morgan, please educate yourself. Even if it is watching "Charlie Wilson's War". We are the reason that the Soviets did that win their war. Yes, unfortunately some of the people that we enpowered to fight the Soviets are the same ones we are fighting tonight. Do you really think that we were attacked by Saudi? We knew about BinLaden and we (President Clinton) didn't do anything about it.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  80. Bryan

    KD .. you are the one who should stay silent in this. Because of our military past and present you have the freedom to sit and type your opinion. Since you don't have the courage to support them at least show some respect for our highly trained and intelligent military personnel who are fighting to give people on the other side of the world the same rights you enjoy. It is about freedom KD .. you are the one who needs to wake up. I'm sure in all your wisdom you can read one of your books to a drug lord terrorist who is planning to kill you and your family. Good luck with that!

    May our troops be wise, may they be courageous and bring liberty to those who are enslaved to the fear of terror. Semper Fi

    February 13, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  81. Still Navy

    Mom of 2 Marines THANK YOU!!! May God bless and protect you and your marines.A debt of gratitude is owed to all parents of our services members, to bad it can't be paid in cash from our 3 trillion debt.

    My thanks and prayers go to all the parents of all the troops serving.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  82. Manny

    This is a great example of a Double Standard. NATO claims that if the Taliban resists the allied force in turn will use overwhelming force on a populated area. Of course when the Russians attacked Georgia in ´08 NATO critisized them for using... you guessed right: Overwhelming Force. Double Standards!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  83. kbs

    Comment #30...Pete...Republicans that started this war? Do you not remember 9/11? Have you forgotten?

    God bless our men and women and those that fight along side them! Thank you so very much for everything that you do. Our country, families, friends, all support you!

    Never forget!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Gringosmasher

    To: SSgt M
    CC: Lonnie Gaylord

    Talk about getting educated. Who has attacked the US, ever? The U.S. has been involved with dozens and dozens and dozens of wars, and not one of them has been to protect us from invasion. And don't say 911, because if this was actually a foreign attack, which a lot of evidence suggests that it was not, it seems it was done by Saudi Arabians, which are our allies (how strange is that, and why did we invade Iraq?!). Maybe, if you educated YOURSELF S Sgt. M, you would realize that most, if not all, of the wars that the U.S. is involved in is to protect our interests, and our interests are not about freedom, but about imperialism. Yes, that is the truth. The U.S. is an imperialist country that protects its big business interests. Don't think so? Then explain the Chilean coup, or the recent attempted coup in Venezuela. Explain Panama, or ANY of the dirty wars in Latin America (just for starters, then we can discuss Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East). The Marines weren't sent to these countries to protect freedom, but to crush it. Many of the wars that the U.S. has engaged in has actually crushed and destroyed democracy. Allende of Chile was democratically elected-he was taken-out and Pinochet was installed–a vicious dictator that killed tens of thousands, and why? To protect over 3000 businesses from the "threat" of nationalizing industry, which the Chileans overwhelming VOTED for (ever see the film, "MISSING" with Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon?). And the list goes on and on and on and on. You would know this Srgt., that is, if you had done your homework. Meaning, if you had actually researched each involvement of the U.S. in foreign affairs. But I imagine you really don't know any of the details of any of these involvements. You just like to wave your flag and mumble something about the military and God. You do know who the masters of doing this really were, right? I mean, you have to remember WWII, right? Remember the Germans? How did the Nazis ever win over so many of the German people? I'm sure it was with factual information, and a call for each German citizen to do his/her share of research. I doubt it was done by chanting slogans over and over again, and waving flags, and blessing Germany, and talking about, over and over again, how great Germany was, and how much the world welcomed Germany to enlighten them with its superior ways of thinking and living. Yea, I think I'm pretty sure of it. (Just in case you don't get it, in the last couple of sentences I was being sarcastic, perhaps even caustic).

    February 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  85. GENE DUDLEY

    My prayer are for all who are in harms way tonight and stay safe Stacey as you minister to our men who are wounded in action as you have done in both battle fields before. Love you and am following all news tonite as it becomes available tonite. Uncle Gene.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Walt52

    Remember 911

    February 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  87. ed

    May you be triumphal in this endeavor, may you return to your loved one's safe....may you each know that we ALL love you....God bless and our prayers go with you...sempri fi...

    February 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Karen Very Proud Marine Mom

    Dear God, please watch over my son and all of his Marine brothers while they are doing the job they have been trained to do! And for those of you who will not stand behind our troops...please, please, please stand in front of them...

    February 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  89. US Citizen

    May God be with our troops as they are involved in this Operation. May God wrap his arms around them and protect each and everyone of them and be a shield to guide them. May God give those of us back home the peace of mind not to worry stricken with grief during this. So proud of our troops for everything they are doing! So proud of my Marine and our other brave men in uniform involved in the Battle of Marjah! Semper Fi!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  90. ALex

    god bless all the soldiers and families for defending freedom. I realize war is coslty and I may not agree with it. But I stand behind the support of soldiers to return home safely.
    True heros that defends our freedom oversea so we can sleep safely at our homes. Good luck and best wishes.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Alex M.

    Whether you agree with the political aspects of the war or not, these men and women deserve all the thought and prayer in the world. We stand behind you. Godspeed.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  92. mum of a 3/6 Marine

    Petrified is not the word. It is so mind boggling that there is nothing more on the offensive than the hours old news, and the days old reports.
    Someitmes I can hardly breath.

    Thank you for all your prayers.. Keep them coming.

    Mum of a 3/6 Marine

    February 12, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Chris

    To Guy from Canada; everyone likes to think their troops are the toughest. Canada has no business being in Afghanistan. The USSR had better reasons to invade than the US and its lackies do.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Nick

    Bless our troops. Pretty simple if you ask me, the brave soldiers are over there preventing another 9/11, planes blowing out of the sky, suicide bombs,,, that are all directed at innocent citizens. To all of you who criticize the actions of our government and soldiers, thank your lucky stars that you have not lost a loved one to these animals. I would guess that your attitude would change quickly if your wife, son, daughter or husband were killed in the name of Allah. Let us not forget that this started a long time ago and will continue until our soldiers put a stop to this. Do not bite the hand that feeds you. Trust me when I say that there are a bunch of these scumbags that want to bring this fight to our soil. What are you going to say then? Who are you going to hide behind? To all of you who support our enemies....die slow.

    Bless the men and women who are doing right....bless the soldiers of the forces fighting those who suppress and kill, bless the free countries.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  95. justice

    I agree. Keep god out of this. IF HE/She is watching he's probably grabbing a big bag of popcorn and kicking back his/her feet to watch another moment of entertainment and thinking to himself, "when will they ever learn" Loss of life period is what should be debated. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters – on both sides do they exist. And if you want to make an argument that God is going to be on the side of the righteous, well then my friends, you need a huge wakeup call. Right, wrong, righteous and fair were things we were taught as children. Those were attempts to control and discipline the mind. They are idealogies that are merely preached, but behind the curtains of governments and politics, greed and power submerge all. Like someone earlier said, if it were Obama's daughters or Bush's daughters on the front lines, or as a matter of fact any influential politicians son on the front lines, Id bet you they would think plenty before starting any such conflict. There really are no winners in war or battles. We fight for idealogies and control. I find it so amusing when politicians and generals claim victory in these instances. Lead by example and not dictatorship and hostility. But i guess its a little too late for such. We are in this mess and its going to go on for a long while. Its easy to kill the taliban, but the angle and approach we have taken to tackle this issue, we barely are grazing the real issue, if not propogating it – their ideaology.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  96. JJ

    Pardon my French, but F**K UM UP BOYS!

    February 12, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Lou

    Morgan – Please, this is not the forum for this debate. My thoughts are with our brave troops, our military leaders and our commander in chief.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  98. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    KD, You obviously have no problem speaking your mind. Why is it that when someone that belives in God and asks for his protection over our troops, you have a problem with it? I don't see on here that anyone is saying that our troops are killing in the name of God. Who should be ask to protect them? Maybe you are willing to go fight for the freedom that you enjoy. I somehow highly doubt it. Last time I checked, there is still free speak in this country. Why don't you tell us your great political and economic theories. My economic theory is that the day that government surpased manufacturing as the biggest part of the gross national product, we were doomed. Make sure you say Hi to the greeter the next time you shop at Wal-Mart.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Chris

    May all invaders be dealt with accordingly.

    February 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  100. JJ

    LETS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Canadians too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Brother in arms!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will protect one another!!!!! Brothers and sisters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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