February 16th, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Marines seize key police HQ in Marjah

MARJAH, Afghanistan - U.S. Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan achieved a main objective Tuesday - taking over the police headquarters in the center of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah.

CNN Correspondent Atia Abawi, embedded with the Marines, said troops didn't receive any resistance when they took the station, but gun battles broke out in the area a few hours later. There was an engagement for 15 to 20 minutes, with constant gunfire coming from different directions, and there have been "sporadic battles," Abawi reported.

Unlike previous days, there was fighting in the evening, with Taliban militants trying to attack Marine locations with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. One of the grenades hit close to one of the U.S. positions and a fire broke out.

About 15,000 Afghan and NATO forces are taking part in Operation Moshtarak, which focuses on the town of Marjah and surrounding areas in Helmand province. Set in a region known as the country's heroin capital, Marjah is where the Taliban established a shadow government. The military says the goal of Operation Moshtarak goal is to provide security, governance and development, and authorities hope fighters choose to reject the insurgency and join the government's reintegration process.

One of the biggest challenges facing the NATO mission in Afghanistan is attacking the Taliban while limiting civilian casualties. On Sunday, 12 civilians died in a rocket attack by coalition troops. Three other Afghan civilians were killed by NATO in separate incidents on Sunday and Monday.

On Tuesday, Abawi spoke to one civilian whose property had been destroyed in the initial push by Marines. Despite that, he said he was happy to see Americans arrive and noted that Marines promised to pay for the damages to his home. He said Afghans have suffered under the Taliban, who he said had beheaded some people and forced their way into people's homes for food.

Filed under: Marjah • Operation Moshtarak
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Garrett Seal

    Keep doing what you guys are doing. I will keep every body in my prayers.

    February 25, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. that person

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Theresa M Rizzo-Collins

    Hello all,
    My son Brett Collins is too in combat. I am so scared for him being a mother but at the same time I couldn't be prouder ! Who are we to question any one, they are there to protect us! we need to respect, honor and thank them for a job well done. ( To our soldiers, we all miss and love you ! Please do all that needs to be done and come back home

    February 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tracy Lee

    "They are Proud
    They are few
    They are tough
    They are true
    They know what to do
    for the red, white and blue.
    They work hard
    They are smart
    They have honor
    They have heart
    The Marines know what to do
    They deserve a "Thank You"!!!!
    Semper Fi Mom I am very PROUD OF YOU JOSH!!! I love you.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Marine Mom

    My prayers are with you brittney, us marine and all of our brave soldiers and their families. My son is also in Marjah. I just read about his Unit on the interenet. God bless those brave young men and women serving our country. Bring them home with whole body and mind. I received a letter from him dated January 15 this week. He only requested I send him lysol and febreeze. lol must be really really bad there.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. us marine

    to brittney,i could not have siad it better,my son is also in marjah,god bless them

    February 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. brittney

    my boyfriend is an infantry marine serving in marjah right now and i am very proud of all they are doing! they need all the support and prayers they can get right now not people questioning them. this is their job and they do it well! oohrah!

    February 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AkintayoNG

    Bravo guys,you all are doing a great job there.Keep on giving it to them,the infidels who want to turn the whole world to war theaters.Do not relent until you have routed them out of their hideouts.Beware of these suicide bombers that have been brainwashed by their so-called heavenly reward nonsense.God be with you and He will keep you all safe till the end of the war,amen

    February 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. david shargel

    ok we got the town....now what. wait a week or so and the suicide bombers will be out in force. god save our boys from this godforsaken country.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. us marine

    danny. i assume you never served in combat,i am a marine combat veteran,you can tell the difference between deaths from a airstrike than people who were killed by other means.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JC

    To:Danny Young, how do we know for sure that the airstrikes killed these people and not the taliban.

    Then how do I know there's the Afghanistan, Helmand, Marjah. .. Were there the airstrikes?

    When you believe.. then believe. You don't then who care!

    Operation Cyclone: funding began with $20–30 million per year in 1980 and rose to $630 million per year in 1987.
    - Somewhere between $3–$20 billion in U.S. funds were funneled into the country to train and equip Afghan resistance groups with weapons

    February 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Danny the people of Marjah had said that the Taliban had done these things throughout there rule in the Helmand province and bombs would totally blow their bodies up not just cut of their heads which the Talban do to people who do not side with them. They are not human but animals that have no care for human life!

    February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Danny Young

    If the Taliban has forced their way into peoples homes for food and "had beheaded" some people of these homes....how do we know for sure that the airstrikes killed these people and not the taliban

    February 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |