February 15th, 2010
12:26 PM ET

Around the Web: Reporting about Operation Mostharak

Coalition and Afghan forces launched Operation Moshtarak, an operation aimed at militants in Marjah, Afghanistan early Saturday morning.  A round-up of some reporting on the fighting:

“Shortly after dawn a soldier of the Afghan National Army climbed up a 60ft disused crane from which the white flag of the Taliban had flown as a defiant symbol of their rule. Using a knife borrowed from a British soldier Private Aziz Watandosd, cut down the flag and threw it to the small gathering of troops below. He then raised the red, green and black national flag in its place to show that the government of Afghanistan now ruled Showal.” (Thomas Harding, The Telegraph)

“The intensity of Taliban opposition is forcing the Marines to move cautiously, which sometimes means spending hours to advance only a few hundred yards, as Charlie Company's 3rd Platoon discovered Sunday.” (Rajiv Chandrasekran, The Washington Post)

“A large number of Taliban fighters have fled the city of Marja, their former stronghold in Helmand Province, under pressure from United States and Afghan forces and may have crossed the border into Pakistan, the Afghan interior minister said on Monday.” (Rod Nordland and C.J. Chivers, The New York Times)

"A joint Nato and Afghan military operation is succeeding in pushing Taliban fighters from their strongholds in Helmand province, officials say. On day three of Operation Moshtarak, senior Afghan officers said areas around Marjah and Nad Ali were being cleared of insurgents.” (The BBC)

“Ambushes, sniper fire and a labyrinth of buried bombs again slowed a drive by U.S. Marines and Afghan troops Monday to rid a former Taliban stronghold of insurgents. The arduous pace of progress on the offensive's third day appeared to bear out commanders' predictions that clearing the town of Marja, in troubled Helmand province, could take weeks, rather than days as initially hoped.” (Tony Perry and Laura King, The Los Angeles Times)

“In a marked contrast from previous campaigns, Afghan forces outnumber international forces by a ratio of 3 to 2 in the Marjah offensive launched this weekend, according to US military officials.” (Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor)

“Snipers are firing at the troops and the area is riddled with booby traps. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who is with some of the Marines, reported for the NPR newscast that the insurgents are trying to ‘draw the Marines out to come toward them because there are still so many IEDs everywhere’ - including just 10 feet away from where the Marines were sleeping last night.” (Mark Memmott, NPR)

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