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. chris P

    To all the supporters of the soldiers in Afghanistan, I feel sad for your worry and pain. It will not end until you stop sending your men into battle for war profits. I have seen more of this world than most, and I can assure you that people dont hate Americans, just your foreign policy. You seem to think you have the right to send your troops were ever you feel like.
    How would you like it if China decided to send its troops to your shores.
    If you dont wont to waste yours boys and money, stay at home, and let the rest of the world sort itself out.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George S.

    "Americans,
    As I read your comments, I see: you are evidently crazy blood thirsty beasts.
    And religious fanatics.

    Posted by: Arton"

    Dear Arton,

    Americans are a people whose source is from all over the world; our people are of all ethnicities, religions, and essentially all lifestyles. However, we have a common thread, a common fiber, WE ARE AMERICANS, and damn proud of it. No matter whether we are Republican, Democrat or Independent – we are UNITED in this geographical war on terror. Currently, as such, it takes us to Afghanistan where many of Taliban will be meeting there demise very soon, As Reagan once said, "You can run, but you can't hide." And, as Thatcher said, "We stand firm, and We stand together." So, yes, Arton, America loves a just fight and is ready and desiring of this one. Does that make us “Crazy Blood Thirsty Beasts and Religious Fanatics;” no, it does not. Americans simply hate evil and those that cause it. We also hate human suffering and do all we can to alleviate it; i.e. Haiti. Make no mistake, and have not a doubt, America will win this battle specifically – and the Afghanistan war with the Taliban in general, with our strong allies the British, the Canadians, and our Eastern and Western brothers & sisters. We will undoubtedly win.

    God Bless You My Fellow Americans and Coalition Brother in Arms. God is with you, always.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    truthseeker, WHO is missing "the point"?

    ALL news is filtered, not sure what your point is there.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carol

    My prayer is for my son, and all the courageous men and women who chose to put their lives on the line for the freedom of others and for our safety right here in the US.
    Lord give them wisdom beyond their years and power to overcome their adversaries. Put a hedge about them to protect them on every side.
    Guide and direct their families here at home. Help them and us to seek you and draw near to you during this time and age. Please give us mercy, and bless our team of fighting men and women. In Jesus name

    February 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greg Kowal

    You guys are a bunch of hypocrites, how can you claim that GOD is on your side? How do you know what GOD want, if he even exists. All the religions claim to be better then the other, yet they are were all based on the same believes one time in their own history. Stop believing in nonsense and the world will be a better place.

    February 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MOM 4R MARINES

    Lt. SN,10th Mt– OO-RAH! Love your theory!

    February 13, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. truthseeker

    I support our troops, in any fight. That being said, this is the third, or maybe forth time that "NATO" forces have cleared out Helmand province. Each time gets even harder because afgan allies are let down every time we leave. Everyone here arguing with each other are missing the point...Although i can't say I blame you if all you read is filtered news. Let's stay informed!

    February 13, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. MOM 4R MARINES

    Sgt C M- Thank you for your service! I hear ya loud and clear. ONCE A MARINE… ALWAYS A MARINE! My son did 3 deployments in his 4 years of active duty. Once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. I know the worry all too well that the families of our deployed deal with daily. I also know our Marines are the best trained and WILL get the job done! They have each other’s backs and will succeed!
    God bless ALL the military involved in this mission. Stay Safe and take no prisoners! I am proud to be an American because of our military!
    Marines motto for those unfamiliar is–Semper Fi ( Always Faithful)

    February 13, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. MOM 4R MARINES

    Marineinafg- God Bless you and your brothers. Go get them! I know what our Marines are capable of doing! You will succeed! Kick BUTT!
    Stay Safe, your in our thoughts and prayers.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marineinafg

    To LT. SN 10th MT – OORAH sir.
    To Jecka – You are wrong, we aren't fighting or dying for oil, money, or any political reasons, we do it for each other. If you want to talk politics why don't you come over here to Afghanistan and you can talk to my M-16 A4 service rifle, or my brothers and sisters who would be more than happy to let you go talk to the Taliban for us.
    To Gramps – yes most of the terrorists are from Saudi Arabia, and they lived and trained in Iraq and Afghanistan, proving that you are the ignorant, uneducated one. I am restraining myself from being vulgar as I am a professional Warrior in a Warrior society, feel free to come to the front lines and help destroy the organization that killed 2000 plus AMERICANS on September 11.

    God, Country, Corps Vote Republican, shut down the border and oh Yeah Happy Valentines Day.

    Kill Bodies.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pete

    Hey Ramiro
    Wake up ! Do you remember who flew the planes on 911. I"m a Canadian and am still pissed and will never forget what happened that day. More men died on D-day than have died in this battle for freedom against these fanatics. Suck it up buttercup.!!
    KICK ASS OVER THERE

    February 13, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. The peace warrior

    Whom you are saying the God army?The people who kill babies ,women and even animals and trees ,they never be God's army but they must be army of evil's.other wise your bible is not correct.and today the people doing the same practice never represent's God's army.they are enemy of the God.Is this christinity to go thousands of miles and kill inocent people?even they don't know where is Amirica?I belive that God never like to destroy the innocent people.and the people or the relegion or the book which order this are not God
    's people,nor God's relegion and not God's book.

    February 13, 2010 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. jecka

    hope you ocupants all die there, The biggest tereorist is your ex president Bush , didnt you fight for the freedom if someone will want to ocupy your country.The black gold , and washed trillions of dollars is what you bastards dying for , your brainless sons and daughters , will pay one day for that .

    February 13, 2010 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. unionsbuerger

    we hope, that Afghanistan will be freed of foreigners

    February 13, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. gramps

    Sometimes I forget how stupid people are until I read blog comments like these. First of all most of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia I don't hear anyone giving Bush hell for kissing Suadi princes behinds. Second all of the warlords of Afganistan, including Osama Bin Laden, were put into power , trained and armed by the US to fight the Russians. They don't hate us for our freedom. If you believe that you're an idiot. All of the past wars to fight communism were not to protect our freedom. All you need to do is look at our complete reliance on COMMUNIST China to buy our debt. If it wasn't for the largest communist country in the world the US would not exist as it does today. So before you go thanking our troops for fighting for our "freedom" you should thank the communist Chinese for our freedom. I would be the first in line to fight on the front line if our freedoms were truly at risk from an external threat. BUT RIGHT NOW THE ONLY THREAT TO OUR FREEDOM IS A COMPLETELY IGNORANT AND UNEDUCATED POPULATION.

    February 13, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  16. Nathanael [desert voice]

    The Taliban has been a bad dream that may soon be over, although this is not yet the time to declare victory. It would help in the short run that President Karzai visit Marjah. Why not now? What Afghanistan needs is a long term stability and just peace. The President needs to be on the forefront of that battle. The elders of Afghanistan are after all human beings, who care deeply for their people. They must be engaged and brought to the side of Afghan government. After the IED's are cleared, with the population's help, the phase of reconstituting Afghanistan should be ushered in spectacular fashion, enough to convince the people that a new promising era had began! As for the U.S. forces, they must not drop their guard for some time yet.

    February 13, 2010 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  17. J Rahman

    Its nice effort by NATO force who work as uncalled freedom to Afgani citizen, but why not NATO doing anything against Israeli force who also kill innocent people in Palestine...Although, many resolution came to act against Israel but USA always vetoed....people of world can not forgot even in years

    February 13, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  18. Bravo

    I have fought along side the American contingent in Iraq & Afghanistan & those experiences will forever be memorable..For all those in battle in helmands i can guarantee something "victoria ascerta".....Do have fun & keep your heads up...This useless bunch of fanatics,savages & cannibals must be hit really hard..

    Bravo, United Kingdom

    February 13, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  19. KIWIPOM

    WHAT A STUPID ORDEAL THIS IS,IN TEN YEARS TIME NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERANCE,BUT FOR THE LOSS MANY MANY FAMMILIES IT WILL HAVE.'THIS IS ANOTHER POINTLESS BATTLE AND FOR WHAT ?
    REMEMBER 911.YER I REMEMBER HOW THE US GOVERMENT KILLED THOUSANDS AND PULLED THE WOOL OVER THE EYES OF FELLOW AMERICANS AND SHUT THE EYES OF ANY WHO DARE STAY OPEN.
    I REMEMBER THE LAME EXCUSE TO SPEND BILLIONS ON AN WAR WITH NO REASON AND NOT A PENNY ON AMERICANS WHO WERE HUNGRY,SICK OR HOMELESS,
    I WILL NEVER FORGET ALL THE MAKE BELIEVE SCENES THE US GOVERMENT KEEP COMMING UP WITH OR THE MANY BODY BAGS THAT KEEP ON COMMING BACK FROM THOSE BATTLES FOR LIES AND GREED.
    THIS JUST STINKS.

    February 13, 2010 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  20. George S.

    It is quite interesting to read the left leaning intellectuals notes who ridicule those who are sincerely proud of America, proud of its strength and values, and proud of the men and women who are about to robustly engage an utterly evil force.

    A message to those who call our patriots such names as redneck, idiot, warmonger, and challenge their belief in God and his Blessings in the Helmand Province mission. Do you not realize that those we are engaging, and about to engage, do not like you, do not respect you, and would not hesitate to kill you? Moreover, if given the opportunity, would harm/kill all of those that are dear to your heart. The Taliban, you are inadvertently supporting, steal from, intimidate, and brutally torture and murder innocent Afghan men, women, and children every single day. Have you ever looked into the eyes of an ordinary Afghan in Kabul? Have you ever held an Afghan hand in Herat and felt the hard calluses/wear? On both counts, I have. There is goodness, strength, wisdom, and pride in the everyday Afghan, but there is also a great deal of fatigue, suffering, confusion, and worry about what tomorrow will bring. With the murderous Taliban in existence/power, there will never be real joy/peace in the hearts and through the eyes of the people of Afghanistan. Their life, for the most part, will continue to be one of poverty, insecurity and misery. America and its allies are their real only hope.

    Although, your ideals are commendable, the way they are expressed give hope to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and a host of other evil groups that America will eventually falter. I assure you, these groups are closely observing/learning, they are evil but dumb they are not. America has many enemies in the Islamic fundamentalist cause, please do not provide them hope & energy. Make no mistake, America will inevitably win in Afghanistan, and Iraq, but let us ensure the cost and sacrifices are not higher than necessary.

    The person who is in harms way deserves your prayers, appreciation, support and respect, as do their family. And, those who support our American troops, as well as our British, Canadian, French, and Eastern European allies deserve your appreciation and respect, too. Sure disagree with them, but do so respectfully and with a degree of appreciation for their patriotism. America was not founded, and surely would not have survived/flourished, if members of its own people chose to maliciously mock and ridicule the American dream. Now, it is time to rally around our flag/nation, appreciate the great sacrifice of our military, and engage this evil force and thoroughly destroy it. The battle about to begin is one of many to come. Support our troops and be thankful you live in a country where a posting you place today does not bring a knock on your door in the middle of the night, shouting, "You are under arrest Infidel! You traitor! You and your family will pay for your crime with your lives!" In Afghanistan, in more areas than you likely realize, this is the way it literally is. Our troops are honorably trying to stop this carnage, while securing/ensuring America and its Allies security.

    February 13, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  21. David/PEI

    Chris 303; You sound just like the A- Typical pant wetting, whining Canadian Liberal. A complete opposite of the brave Canadians fighting as I write. You Liberal punks might have control of the media but as long as there is a real man in charge of Canada, Stephen Harper, Canada will continue to do all it can in spite of carping, whiners like you. Were it not for Canadians who are willing to fight, you might be speaking Arabic and forced to pray 5 times a day. You do not deserve the freedom you enjoy.

    February 13, 2010 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  22. Kate

    This is a surge that the military has been planning for months and that we, in the military, have been waiting for. The Canadians are very much involved and take a very large hit. I'm stationed in Landstuhl Germany at the hospital and the majority of patients that we get in from NATO forces are Canadian, Polish, Romanian, and Bulgarians. Most people dont even know that they are fighting for us. Dont forget the private contractors also. So please stop disputing the military, the government, and worrying about the political side of it or the civilian casualties. Remember the boys and girls who are fighting on our side and sacrifice more than you could ever imagine.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  23. Jose, San Diego

    Gotta love these Old Testament-style "Christians" with their Hooah for Gawd - Mark Twain had your number a century ago with the "War Prayer":

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle - be Thou near them! With them - in spirit - we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

    February 13, 2010 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  24. PFC B

    Thanks to the American public for being there for me and my battle buddies. We can't do it with out you.
    To my comrades in arms...give them hell, hooah?

    February 13, 2010 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  25. Steve

    May almighty God protect you my son in your endeavor.

    Semper Fi

    February 13, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  26. J. Fuentes

    I pray that our men and women out there to come home to their loved ones. Give us who have our loved ones out there the strength to survive this turmoil and give our troops the support and Care they need to survive. I have 2 brothers (one marine and one army) and boyfriend (marine) defending us right now 2 which are part of this mission in Marjah.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  27. Rick Indiana

    Religion crap is what is destroying this world..One mans God trying to smash another Mans God. Some Sick S***..

    February 13, 2010 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  28. Sonny

    Instead of harsh language displayed here, this special valentine please help our Talib friends in Marjah with tons of copper candies made in USA all wrapped up in napalms and decorated with pineapples and c4 to bring out those special sparkles in their eyes (and heads?). Watch each other backs and stay safe boys. Best wishes~ Lt. SN,10th Mt

    February 13, 2010 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  29. 1/6 hard, weapons unit- sister of Paul Schroeder

    quit this!!! lets pray or do what ever it is you do!! my brother is out there and all i want is for him and any other persons special soldier out there in this to come home safe and soon! So I am going to pray and pray and pray until the day he does! I will also pray for all the families that are going through this too. If you don't pray then please do whatever it is you do!

    February 13, 2010 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  30. john atkinson

    God Bless, we know that the fight you take to the enemy protects us on our island and we are grateful for that. God speed to our american allies.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  31. sofia naeem

    the problem of Afghanistan cannot be solved by military and force.look at IRA problem the solution are talks not bullets.no matter how many Taliban and NATO soldiers die this problem is going to continue. because in this part of the world the war on terror is regarded as attack and invasion by Christians on Muslims.and to make matters worse the death of civilians by NATO bombings have but fuel to the fire.USA has put a corrupt puppet in presidential palace in Kabul.i think the Americans should ask themselves that is the blood and life of their soldiers so cheap that they could waste it on some undemocratic cheat

    February 13, 2010 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  32. Tarry

    There is no solution for this. The teachings of Islam are very diabolical. There is only one solution for complete South East Asia. I feel sorry to say this. A MASIVE EARTHQUAKE. That's all. I feel like crying that where religion has taken mankind. All of us are sons/daughters of the same GOD yet we fight with each other. It's nothing but POLITICS.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  33. Dave B

    To the families who are posting here, thank you for the difficult work of keeping the home fires burning while your sons and daughters, wives and husbands, are so far from home. To the young men and women in harm's way tonight, I pray you come home safe. Some where in America this morning, notification teams will knock on doors, families will mourn, will never hear that voice, see that smile, or feel that touch again. My arms around you.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  34. George Washington

    Come on boys bring me back some of that opium. Don't let the CIA get it all. Oh and death and dishoner to the invading foreign horde.

    Keep it green

    February 13, 2010 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  35. Gurbir Bhullar

    WITH DUE RESPECT AND REGARD FOR THE TROOPS WHO ARE FIGHTING IN MARJAH, HELMAND PROVINCE AFGHANISTAN AND PRAY TO EVERY GOD EXIST BY NAME AND BELIEF TO HELP THEM WIN THIS WAR AND RESTORE PEACE AND HARMONY IN THE REGION.
    HAVING SAID THAT, WHAT AMERICA IS DOING TODAY AND SOVIETS WERE EXACTING DOING THE SAME 30 YEARS AGO AND THEY WERE DOING IT MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT NATO FORCES ARE DOING TODAY,THEN WHY THE AMERICANS HIRED THESE WARLOADS TO DEFEAT SOVIETS BY HUNTING DOWN THEIR CHOPPERS AND OTHER FLYING OBJECTS USED FOR SURVEILLANCE PURPOSES?
    THIS PROVES THAT AMERICA BEING A DEVELOPED COUNTRY DONOT HAVE ENOUGH VISIONARY PEOPLE IN THEIR THINK TANK. IF YOU ARE DEFEATING THE FORCES WHO ARE CREATING JOBS, GIVING PROTECTION TO PEOPLE AND DEVELOPING INDUSTRY eg RED ARMY WHICH LEAD TO DISTURBANCE AND DOMINANCE OF TALIBAN IN THE REGION TILL DATE AND AT THAT TIME AMERICANS DID WITH FEW BILLION DOLLARS, AND NOW THEY WASTED 1000 BILLION DOLLAR JUST BEACAUSE A BAD DECISION.

    CAN ANYONE JUSTIFY AMERICAN ACTIONS THEN??

    February 13, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  36. Patrick

    GOD SPEED! Come home when the job is done!

    Thanks

    February 13, 2010 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  37. Arton

    Americans,
    As I read your comments, I see: you are evidently crazy blood thirsty beasts.
    And religious fanatics.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  38. Bob D

    Good luck to all the troops involved in this battle. Many people debate the right or wrong of the war, but when the battle starts we MUST stand with our soldiers.
    My thoughts are with them and their families – I hope they all come back safe.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  39. Marineinafg

    Know ye as i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for We are the meanest S.O.B.'s in the valley. semper fidelis.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  40. John

    Wow Lonnie Gaylord, what a guy,
    The taliban force women to wear a veil completely covering their body, have no rights whatsoever ,cant leave their house without a man and your response is evil America.
    The taliban say if you convert away from islam than you must have your head removed, your response, evil America.
    Girls must not go to school and learn to read, your response evil America.
    Taliban kill others who dont agree with them, absolutely NO freedom of speech or independent thinking, your response evil America.
    They gave refuge and protection to the criminals who flew civilian planes into civilian buildings, other than the pentagon, and your mumble, inside job, evil America.
    I have news for you, we will never end this fight till these fanatics are defeated.
    We have no choice.
    Even if we lose our will and leave Afghanistan, it will not be long till were back, they will follow us here and force us to return.
    I am Northern Cheyenne, and growing up on the rez you learn about the evil that our government has done, both here and abroad.
    I am not a blind flag waving American by any means, to not acknowledge all the ugly things done by this country is to be ignorant.
    But you back these zealots, and turn a blind eye just so you can blame America.
    You see the wrong in the history of the US but ignore the good.
    And fanatical islamic doctrine?
    No evil there.
    To see real patriotism, not blind flag waving visit any native American powwow or rodeo, its open to all people, native or not.
    You will see a proud people who love this country for all the good it does, while at the same time standing up and resisting it when it goes astray, we did after all take down General Custer and the 7th, along with our Lakota allies.
    For anyone who is interested we have a great 4th of July Powwow, on the rez in Lame Deer and everyone is welcome.
    Everyone, except the likes of Mr Gaylord, blind extreme hatred of this country would get you a severe beating.
    May our father protect our Northern Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, serving proudly in uniform, our Marines, and our Afghan and Nato coalition partners.
    May the Great Spirit protect the trapped innocents from harm, and help the taliban quickly have that meeting with Allah.
    John k, Lame Deer Montana

    February 13, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  41. to praying and proud

    It shows you how violent the God of the Bible actually is and all hypocrisy of those who attack Islam and say they believe in a hateful God

    February 13, 2010 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  42. d

    So once we beat Cobra Commander is that going to stop extremist behavior? I doubt it. extremism is a symptom of a much larger and most uncomfortable disease.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  43. Reza from Canada

    May god bless and protect our coalition soldiers fighting these truly forces of evil in Afghanistan.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  44. Chris

    Kristin, speak for yourself . Your son's "service and dedication" in Afghanistan will just stir up the hornet's nest and these terrorist jerks will come back to bite us, like those 19 jihadis that were arrested in Canada a couple of years ago; they were pissed off at Canada's involvement in American imperialist games.

    You are a derelict mother that let your son go into useless war.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  45. John Adam

    We cant win war with gun point only peace and talk will resovle this issues. War is war. The only good human being is a dead one

    February 13, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  46. at home waiting

    Thank you to all of you for supporting our military. The love of my life is with 1/6 Marines and his sniper platoon is sure to under go more than I can imagine. I pray for Gods hand of protection and for my Marine to please make it home again.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  47. tori rain marine wife

    please please pray for our men and woman out there.. my husbens name is david wyatt carlile please put him in your prayers too he is a marine in afghan right now. thank you

    February 13, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  48. Kathy

    God protect the soldiers who are fighting this battle. Place a shield around them and keep them safe. Comfort the hearts of the families who have loved ones as you know their hearts are troubled.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  49. Kam

    I am so proud to be an American. We must overcome those who spread misery to fellow humans in the name of religion. USA is the only country who without fail always supports the rights and freedom of other peoples. USA is and will remain the greatest country on earth. O' say can you...

    February 13, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  50. Patrick

    The main photo on this page is of British troops advancing to the frontline, god bless them all the allies. Already over 200 hundred Brits have lot their life in Afganistan, here's hoping this offensive will help put a stop to further casualities

    February 13, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  51. Praying and Proud

    One more thing. I can see many people writing here about how God hates war and killing, have not read the Bible. When God sent his people to war, he had them kill every man, woman, child, and their animals. No mercy for babies or animals much less women or men. God's people were involved in many wars, sometimes the reasons were not so clear or they were over what we might call selfish greedy reasons of men. Some things never change. God was with His people during times of war. When the Isrealites disobeyed God, he punished them with death by snake and other causes of death.

    Tonight, God, please be with your people and protect them.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  52. Kristin

    As a mom of a soldier in Afghanistan, I say Godspeed to every coalition soldier fighting...get the job done and come home safe and soon. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We thank you for your service and dedication.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  53. Metin Kethuda

    God Bless and Protect all our troops. Preserve them from the dangers, dirty coward – evils` traps, and the voilence of the enemy. Be ever present to those who serve, intercede for us that wicked plans may be defeated.

    Watch over those whom You have called to honorably serve in the military, especially my son and those within our family, community and the USA.

    Guardian Angel protect them, please.

    Amen.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  54. steelgrip

    God speed to the troops. And to those who feel compelled to disrespect OUR president at this critical time please leave the country you traitors. It was Obama who has ALWAYS said the war should be fought in Afghanistan. It was Obama who was brave enough to reject the war in Iraq when it was political suicide. It was Obama who pushed for better armor for the troops and better healthcare for Vets. It was Obama against his own party that OK'd the current surge. A surge that he insisted had a clear objective and strategy. It is Obama despite being spit on by his own country is doing everything he can to protect it and bring home those boys and girls ASAP. But you all keep it up, help the Taliban some more. Traitors.

    February 13, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  55. Former Squid

    God speed to all involved and hurry home!

    Mike Appelhans – get your facts straight. 1. Afghanistan isn't even in the top 200 oil producing countries in the world. 2. Karzai was never on an oil companies board of executives and 3. the figure you quote for US financial aid during the Soviet invasion is grossly overestimated.

    CB (USN ret – served in Afghan and Iraq)

    February 13, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  56. lb

    God bless all those men and women for their service. The utmost respect and gratitude to them and what they are doing for our country. It is so sad to me that so many men and women must put their lives at risk and that we as a human race aren't able to resolve things through other means.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  57. Yeti

    Perfect day to start another battle. First day of Olympics.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  58. Annette

    Calling on god and praying for an evil act of killing is of no value. No god endorces murder! God gives life and it is too precious to waste on war. Live and let live not even one life is worth this unreasonable madness.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  59. 786

    Good Luck Americans!

    I hope you don't face the same fate this that you've been facing in Afghanistan during the last nine years i.e. defeat and disgrace!!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  60. Matt W.

    God be with all our forces over seas fighting to protect what we have at home.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  61. Caryn

    to my husband: Go baby go!!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  62. A4H

    Please pray for all the troops. Talibans must be finish or they'll takeover Afhganistan again and kill men, women and children for a sport. Little boys and girls were raped by Talibans when they were in power, women were shot at the stadium because they talk to a man not a member of the family. God bless ALL allied forces, may God protect them.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  63. Perry

    What happened to the Olympic Truce??? The UN endorsed it... Why cant the countries of the world refrain from combat, for two lousy weeks, while the games are held??? WTF???

    February 13, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  64. mike

    @ chris.... words cannot describe the type of person that you are other then that..... you are NOT a MOTHER. no other love or pride can shadow that of a MOTHER. good, bad,or in different... no mother should ever have to go through the type of heartache that comes from only knowing that her kid is not at HOME. just my humble opinion

    mike b/co 1st/505th pir

    February 13, 2010 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  65. dtfield

    It's about time we took the gloves off, save some for me Marines, 1/25 needs to get some too
    LCPL F

    February 13, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  66. Jester

    very sad to see brave men being wasted for nothing

    February 13, 2010 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  67. Rob

    "I can't believe the high percentage of gung-ho, yahoo idiot morons posting here!

    Posted by: Chris"

    I think it's safe to say you're projecting there "Chris". I feel sorry for you.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  68. j stack

    May God protect you all and keep you safe.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  69. Praying and Proud

    Barrack Obama....there is a lot to be learned from a name. Obama is doing what he is told to do and does not make decisions without the Congress or staff to tell him what to do or back him up. What kind of country elects a president with that kind of name after 9/11 anyway? Not one single president of the U.S. has worked alone, made all the decisions alone, etc. The Republican and Democratic parties rule their presidents and our country. The President is the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. Bush didn't screw up by himself or without direction for others. Neither will Obama, he too is following direction.

    As for this battle our troops are heading into tonight, I say, "Take no prisoners and don't stop till you get them all." I am so proud to live in a country with such devoted countrymen and women serving the ungrateful multitudes. God bless each and every one of you as you face horrific decisions and possibly death.

    While you are at it, stick an American flag on the soil of Iraq and don't forget to leave one in Afghanistan too. We should make them American states, since troops spend a lot of their time rebuilding and protecting civilians.

    Go troops, get some!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  70. Proud USMC Wife

    Chris -

    I beg to differ, each and every one of us owes thanks to the armed forces throughout history who have selflessly given themselves to allow us to get to where we are today. What would I say to those wives and mothers? I would say that I know exactly what it feels like because no matter what side of the line you are on, you are all praying and hoping for the same thing, that your loved one makes it home safely. You failed to bring up the mothers and wives of the opposition of the wars that our Country generally does accept as a good thing. What about the British that lost their loves so that we could gain our Independence? You failed to mention them. What about when our countrymen turned against themselves in the Civil War? I suppose you feel that there was no reason to support any of them either.

    I am not ashamed to support my husband and my country. No matter what my beliefs are, we are fortunate enough to live in a democracy that allows us to select our own leaders. A country that allows us to vote, a countless number of times in our life, for leaders that we choose to represent us around this world.

    Do I wish for civilians to be injured or killed in this course of action, of course I don't, but what I do know is that I will ALWAYS stand by our country, our flag, our freedom no matter what course that takes. It is that freedom that allows us to sit on an insignificant website to voice our support or dissent. It is that freedom that lets us sleep at night knowing that in all likelihood, we will be able to wake up in the morning and go about our merry little ways.

    If you have such a problem with the direction of our Country and our armed forces, which are also back by forces from around the world, then I suggest you spend a little less time posting on CNN and a little more time trying to make a difference in what you believe. Go out and petition the leaders that your fellow Americans elected. Go out and get the word out for your beliefs. How are you able to do that? Because men and women in the armed forces have continuously worked to protect your right to do so.

    You don't have to support the work they are doing, but NEVER forget what their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of those before them both in our country and throughout the world, has allowed you to enjoy in life.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  71. George S.

    We are Americans and are a kind, generous, open minded and just people. Unfortunately, there are those who wish to mock us, think we are weak, morally corrupt, and on a national decline. The Taliban are of the latter group and are eager for a fight.

    America, let us bring the fight to them and attack. We have and will always offer peace as a desired approach, though it has not, does not, and will never solve our problem with the Taliban. They are determined, manipulative, cunning, and brutally ruthless. They only understand and yield to 1-approach, and that is force.

    Let us say our prayers, remember our proud heritage, sound our call to arms, and attack!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  72. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    Chris, please do me a favor. Show your comment to your mother and grandmother and ask them what they think. I am sure they are going to be very proud of you.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  73. TruthWillSurvive

    If everyone of you had sincerely belived in GOD almighty, and obeyed him, his help would have come in 2002 to all US troops. (i'm sure in 2002 the entire US population wished them like above, and will continue to wish, but in wain.) well aremed, well trained, well advanced US and the allies have lost more troops in 2009 than in previous years. But the taliban and Al Qaeda with its small, least privilaged (in weopons) are still causing fear and prevailing. the ratio of US+NATO forces vs tliban is around 12:1. human logic would say US+NATO shold win easily. But the fact is they ar eloosing more. So which side do u think GOD is with? GOD almighty is with the side that is on the truth. GOD will always help the people who are striving for the truth. Truth will survive. Just wait and see... we just need to think which side are we on? Amy GOD bless everyone of us. We need his mercy.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  74. Rob

    Thank you. Thank you, to all of the men & women that put their lives on the line so we can sit here on our computers, reading the news, arguing, agreeing, laughing, crying, watching our TV's, drinking our cold or hot beverage of choice while you fight to ensure that we continue to have the freedom to do so as we please.
    My sincerest hope is for a short, decisive battle with as few civilian casualties as possible while excating as devastating a toll on the Talliban as you can so all of you can come home safe & in one piece to your families that love & miss you & to the country you're putting your lives on the line to protect.
    Be safe & godspeed.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  75. MAXG

    When will the ignorant sheep ever learn?
    Never.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  76. chris

    I was in Afghanistan before the Russians arrived, and found a wonderful warm people. I was taught at school about our brave soldiers who invaded over a hundred years ago, and finally retreated in disarray. The Afgan people are as hard as nails, and man for man, only our best fighters can match them. When will America lean that you can not win this war. This is a civil war and will end when they have had enough.
    Please spend your money on your own problems, stop taking your hell to the rest of the world.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  77. ProudToBeAnAmerican

    Chris, you are a piece of work. How would you feel if some you love'd (assuming there is someone besides yourself) was over there in this battle? Would even care if a friend or family member could have the chance to die tonight. Show this women the repsect she deserves.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  78. Bryan

    @Chris .. if you are an American or a free citizen of the world you OWE EVERYTHING to brave soldiers past and present. You are a coward for posting your comment to the the Proud USMC Wife. You haven't a clue of the sacrifice the families of the military make let alone what the soldiers in harm's way are doing for freedom and for your right to breathe air into your pathetic chest.

    To the military families who are waiting and praying during these difficult hours, my prayers are with you and with your courageous soldiers.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  79. Natashia

    God bless our troops and God bless President George W. Bush. He was a strong leader and I do not really care what people say about him. The man had to deal with 9/11, katrina, Afghan war and Iraqi war. No president had to deal with this mess except Bush. Obama is soft and he does not know anything except spending crazy money on stupid things. Why would you close Guantanamo bay and bring terriost to our nation and please do not tell me its against the human right. That is a bull s***. Those stupid organization can go and tell Bill laden that he is a crinmal and what ever he is doing is against human beings. But they do not have the guts to say it to him. But when it comes to the U.S, everybody say they are treating them wrong.So whom ever say that we are lucky to live under Obama is completely wrong. Obama can get you a job since you love him so much.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  80. Tony

    To Harris,

    Believe me that the world and the earth and the sun and the moon and the day and the night will still exist even if you don't provide all that. Just because we can fly to the moon now doesn't mean the people who lived in for example 500 AD are useless.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  81. michael

    Give them hell boys. I pray that you are protected and kept safe.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  82. Chuck B

    SEMPER FI

    February 13, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  83. Chris

    "Can't wait to get some action"?

    Have you ever seen Red Dawn?

    What would you say to Russian or Chinese soldiers who couldn't wait to get some action in the US?

    Man, you people are S.T.U.P.I.D!!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  84. dominic O

    America is solidely behind you guys. keep the good job up. i never knew Canadians are also in the fight for freedom. Thanks to our Canadian troops. liberate Afganistan. free the people. vanquish terror.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  85. Faith De'Leor

    Napalm

    February 13, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  86. Mojoman

    So what about the Saudis? Don't they finance a lot of these fanatics ?

    February 13, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  87. Chris

    The "Best and Brightest" in the armed forces??

    ROFL!!

    Other than that I agree with you.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  88. victor shandil

    Dear soldiers and brothers, I know exactly what you may be going into but I and my family want to tell you we are all praying for you all and may God bless you and may you all come out victorious. We are praying for you and your families God bless you and come home soon

    February 13, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  89. Ramiro

    What the F... are american troops doing in that F....ing....country. who cares taliban and his business.

    Human life is precious. Let's stop young man from being killed. Let's get out of that F country.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  90. Mark K

    From an old vet (Army 75 -86) to our guardians of today. We will pray for your safety, Stay low, stay focused. Only the soldiers who have been there before you truly understand what your lifes are like right now. Night time is the worst. We are proud of you. When I think of you tears swell in my eyes. But they run with pride. For you and your families. God Bless.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  91. Matt bulley

    Semper fi marines and ill be joining you in may cant wait to get some action oorah!!
    also you all have my prayer stay safe!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  92. Chris

    "Proud USMC Wife", there were worried and proud mothers and wifes of German soldiers invading Poland in 1939 as well.

    There were worried and proud mothers and wifes of Russian soldiers invading Afghanistan in 1979 as well.

    What would you say to these mothers and wives?

    We owe your husbands N.O.T.H.I.N.G., GOT that?!?!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  93. Afghan

    Thanks to all commenter. I am an afghan and am closely watching the process of operation against militants and hope the forces win. I whole-heartedly thank NATO forces giving their lives for their country and for us. Let’s pray for victory of goodness on evil. What the US and Canadians friends may have neglected is that democracy can't be practiced by force and those unwilling to join the democratic world will never feel what democracy is like. I don't mean the all-out efforts here are of no use or should be stopped; the process should be strengthened. All NATO countries citizens have to bear in mind that there will be no solution to the crisis unless their governments adopt strategic approach towards the issue in Afghanistan. Each ethnic group in Afghanistan can comply with a particular strategy; an option fitting one is fully contrary to what others like. Surely, the whole nation wants peace but there are some who love peace with others being denied their basic rights. This is not only the war of NATO or afghan government with the militants, but also a war of ethnic groups, the totalitarians and the suppressed group. This may not pleasant to be discussed in Afghanistan as all are apparently supporting the national solidarity but we will never meet the goals unless we are denying facts. Have you heard that Taliban belong only to the dominant ethnic group in the country, the Pashtoons. Olivia, the French Sociologist, who has studied on Pashtoos for years, maintain that they are, by nature, anti-government and do love to escape rule of law. They are not only bothering part of their own people but have been always harassing the whole nation. Military operations can serve as a short term tactic to create a peaceful environment but the problem will last forever if an inclusive non-military strategy is not applied across the whole areas where pro-militant communities live.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  94. mike

    to all of those brave soul's who now stand where i once stood keep your head down and watch your buddie's back God speed and leave no man behind.

    mike b/co 1st/505th pir

    February 13, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  95. Jon G.

    As an Afghan vet, and on my way to Iraq, I'm reading this stuff and hoping we still just pull out. No matter what, we will never gain anything for this country fighting over there. I pray that all of the men & women in this fight come home safe, and I damn the politicians who put the best & brightest in harms way while they and the contractors are home safe and getting richer.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  96. Haris

    Tony (Comment 279)

    I come from east but your simplified version of east vs west is a mish mash and total lack of understanding. May be you need to get out more. American culture is not about strip clubs only or naked women. It is about building the oldest democracy, building best institutions in the world including justice system (accessible to all) unlike the one in east (available to the super rich or subservient to military dictators), it is about providing the best education globally, it is about pioneering research and sciences (majority of the new high yielding species of wheat, canola, sugarcane, rice and cotton) grown in third world which feeds more people in those countries has been developed by US crop scientists, it is about creating a system that provides everyone equal opportunity (look at the number of muslim doctors, lawyers, enterpreneurs who have made millions from their US operations), it is about building world class aeroplanes that take muslims from Islamabad and Kualalumour to Mecca in only a few hours) instead of journey that would take months, it is about prospecrity (something most eastern people like you are jealous about), it is about openess (a very alien concept to most of those in east), it is about giving back to community (Bill gates and Warren Buffet has given more in charity for Africa and Asia than all billionaires of the east together), it is about creating a society which is not subservient to any military dictator and can have a no one like Obama be a president. I am from Pakistan, live in Australia but salute the great nation that USA is... Now tell me about what your 'eastern' country has achieved in the last 100 years ? What have they developed to advance in medicine, research, philosophy, sciences, arts, music, justice, education, – Please concentrate on building a system first that gives clean water to the poor people and then find faults in what is the best nation on earth.

    Haris

    February 13, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  97. Brandon

    wish all our service members the best of luck.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  98. Bradcam

    My prayers for safety are with our troops. I'm a brother of a Master Corporal from C.F.B Petawawa. Take care and come back home to us soon, you are all greatly missed.

    February 13, 2010 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  99. Chris

    Carl, you're an idiot.

    There was NO drug flow before the Taliban got kicked out of power.

    You dumb fool, since when has the Canadian government ever justified its involvement in Afghanistan fighting the drug trade when we can't win our own drug problem here in BC?!!?

    I can't believe the high percentage of gung-ho, yahoo idiot morons posting here!

    February 13, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  100. Yosh

    Hundreds of thousands civilians live in this area. How many non-armed civilians will be killed in the course of this attack? How many women and children will lose their lives? how many innocent civilians will lose their homes?

    February 13, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
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