February 20th, 2010
05:36 PM ET

Moshtarak enters second week

Foreign and Afghan forces encountered stiff resistance Saturday as their Operation Moshtarak offensive in southern Afghanistan entered its second week, and a civilian was mistakenly shot dead. "It is moving slowly but surely. The Marines are making some headway," said CNN correspondent Atia Abawi, who is embedded with U.S. Marines in and around Marjah in southern Afghanistan. "The Taliban are putting up quite a resistance."

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Filed under: Operation Moshtarak
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Deirdre Cleary

    Brian Willett is My son inlaw, We are VERY proud of you Brian Always !!!!
    We Love You, Deirdre and Micheal Cleary !! 🙂 🙂 God Bless You Brian .....

    October 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. colin mooney

    Well done brian willet good to see your save im playing this clip at VFW st patricks day party on saturday stay safe .colin mooney and Donal cullen Maloney and Porcelli New York.

    March 9, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Daniel

    We keep hearing all this disgusting bravado about how wonderful and great this offensive is with all these "military successes" but how about the people who live right in the heart of Helmand Province.These people lost loved ones and had their property destroyed.I know we;re going to hear all this phoney baloney about just glad they are to be rid of the Taliban but are they really?Somehow,I don't think so!

    March 1, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Enid Reichert

    Brian Willett is my son. I want to thank Ms. Abawi very much for covering our brave Marines and letting us all see what they're doing. It's so overwhelming to be able to actually see him. Please let me know how I can go about getting a copy of this video to save for him. I also want to thank those who left kind comments supporting him and his fellow Marines. It's so important that these guys and their families know that their sacrifice is truly appreciated by those at home.

    February 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael Abbatiello

    WILLET!
    Just wanted to say for everyone to see, that what your doing is so awesome. Thank you for being part of the shield for this country. Don't think for a second that what your doing goes unrecognized or unappreciated.
    Plus, no one in the world can say they have fired a rocket. Are you kidding me? Thats just so sweet. A lot of people are thinking about you back home man, even more then you know. Take care of yourself buddy.

    -Michael Abbatiello
    -Matt Sanquini

    February 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    How are you all reacting to the Washington Post article yesterday (page A-9), reporting that Marjah is nothing more than a public relations gimmick by the army to try to increase public support for this war?

    February 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Your right on it Bill Monroe, the Taliban probably have hundreds of their fighters mixing in with the population waiting and planning to either bury IED's or put on a suicide vest to kill anyone who is fighting or working to secure Afghanistan as a free and democratic nation. Susan Leigh would you like to live under the Taliban's control where they kill women for working, walking with other men and trying to learn how to become a better woman with their schooling? We are Americans and we help out anywhere we can. If the coalition leaves the Taliban would surly take over again and treat their people like they are animals with their strict Islamic laws. We have the best fighting men and women to take on the Taliban and with Pakistan finally helping to capture the leaders of these evil persons we might even get intelligence as to where bin Laden, Omar and Zawahiri, bin Laden's right hand man, are. The drones are very good in attacking these radical religious fanatics hiding in northwestern Pakistan. We need to finish the job which includes Afghanistan as an ally not an enemy to plan attacks against us again!

    February 24, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Deirdre Cleary

    Thank you for showing Brian Willett and his Unit, we are very proud of you Brian !!
    Deirdre and Mike cleary Inlaws. Thank you CNN. Please send me a copy .

    February 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JG

    Ms. Abawi, insurgent snipers are using the Dragunov rifle as you reported. However, the weapon your camera man zoomed in on, being held by a marine, was definitely NOT this rifle, nor any rifle at all. Even if people watching this could not tell the difference between a rifle and a light anti-tank weapon, your report fails to make sense: why would the marines be using Dragunov rifles when you just reported that insurgents are using them? Much less, how would they use these rifles to take out enemies on the other side of walls? Perhaps in splicing together the video a section was edited out during which discussion of the Javelin missile system was introduced, but I will still have to agree with Anti-Armor above–very sloppy reporting.

    February 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Monroe

    Nathanael [desert voice] Daniel,
    War definetly stinks. Being in combat under enemy fire is most of the time mass confusion. Unfortunately civilians get killed if they're in the combat zone. Yesterdays civilian deaths could have been avoided if they had stayed away. I dont believe they were on any joy ride but we'll never know what really was going on with them. I have been shot at by a civilian with an AK-47 only to have that same person walk past my platoon 30 minutes later unarmed. ????? By the way, when you do capture a Taliban they would rather die than cooperate. Their leaders want nothing to do with talking about peace.
    Semper Fi

    February 23, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. JB

    Stay safe Brian.. It was so good to see you are doing well.. I miss you!

    February 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nam Hu

    Great video giving us a glimpse of what the marines are doing. I echo the appreciation shown above for the marines.

    I understand there are varied views about the war out there but Brian Willett and his fellow Marines are risking so much for us and deserve our support in these comments.

    Plenty of other articles related to the war on cnn.com and elsewhere to express political and macro opinions about it.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. susan leigh

    Afghanistan is another Viet Nam...soldiers are dying for nothing.

    What is the objective in Afghanistan? The Taliban eradicated the poppies after the Iran/Iraq Wa; the one we backed Saddam in. OBL attacked the US because they deserted Afghanistan after the war with Russia. Americans don't know history, else we wouldn't be killing our kids for nothing.

    The politicians will keep sending people over to die in their stupid wars. But please take notice...the politicians, nor their families join the armed forces...

    Bush 43 was a Viet Nam draft dodger and he has some of you believing he was a war hero. Did the bush twins serve in their daddy's war? No, too many parties to go to.

    Let the politicians fight their own wars. Stop killing our soldiers FOR NOTHING!!!

    Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan now and fix OUR country!

    February 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A. Smith, Oregon

    There appears to be very little of Marjah left as the fighting winds down. The shake and bake Govt. 1,000 Afghan police are pouring in and the residents are stating they greatly fear their safety and protection under the utterly corrupt Afghan police and govt. officials. IT is sad that America is forcing a utterly corrupt Afghanistan President and his gang of crooks onto the Afghanistan people and down the throats of the villagers at Marjah.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Devis Sri lanka

    Thanks to Atia Abaawi cnn news correspondent. when looked at all the fallen men since 2001 ,mostly it was due to bombs underground. It is really a very hard job and I am sorry if I am wrong. Cant they remove the buried bombs from a robot technology before the troops move forward? I know it takes more time .here in Sri lanka we see these robots are doing a fast job clearing bombs which were buried by terrorists.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Trevor Hayes

    I cant possibly see why CNN & Fox News constantly report how the Taliban are putting up such a fierce battle against Coalition forces. Their commiting suicide!

    February 22, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  17. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Today's mass killing of innocent civilians makes me sick. It is clear that Gen. McChrystal has lost the ability to think clearly! When two or three mini vans are spotted on major road to Kandahar, this does not necessarily mean that inside those vans there are terrorists! The pilots of the planes that killed those people had no way of seeing inside the vehicles. But they had a choice! They could have called to Gen. McChrystal for a helicopter, which could have dropped a dozen Marines five kilometers ahead. These Marines could have arranged a check point, to see who was inside the vehicles. If those were terrorists, the very same helicopter and planes could have destroyed the terrorists. Instead, with or without the general's knowledge, innocent lives were lost! This is not right! When such things can easily be avcoided, it is the responsibility of the Commander-in-chief to avoid them, or to delegate the power to avoid them to competent people!

    February 22, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  18. Abdullah

    Aghanistan is the 2nd home of pakistan....we will govern afghanistan in the near future.....

    February 22, 2010 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  19. Anti-Armor

    I'm a little confused. Why does the report say the Marines are using a draganov sniper rifle, while the pictures show a javelin missile and the description says it targets enemy behind walls? This is very sloppy reporting.

    February 22, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  20. Elizabeth Trollmnn-Shepardson

    I just want to thank CNN and the journalists who are covering not only this offensive, but all military zones. My son is in this video (the handsome one, chewing gum–Cpl Doan, 1/6th Weapons Co). Here at home–We wait. We read. We pray. We watch. And suddenly–he appears– in this video. You cannot imagine how much relief that brings to a mother of a Marine. I thank you, sincerely. His brothers, his grandfather, his wife and all of her family thank you, as well. Godspeed to you all in your chosen path of bringing us the news. Again, be safe, and accept our thanks and appreciation for all that you do.

    February 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Larisa Willett

    Brian Willett is my husband! CNN, could you send me a copy?? I'm so proud of him!!

    February 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Paul Goguen

    Good job Willet keep it up. I don't know if you read these Atia but if you do tell Willet and Doan good job thanks.

    February 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  23. r mcnertny

    Is this nothing in the middle of no where worth this to anyone,,these people have outlasted any outsiders always,based on the lack of news coverage no one cares least of all the tiger woods media,,this site isnt even a blip on cnn s page.
    vietnam ,volunteer

    February 21, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  24. Daniel

    This whole operation makes me sick,especially when the news media blabs about all those so-called military successes.According to the media,one would think that killing people is the greatest thing one could accomplish under the sun.This may not sound patiotic considering I'm am American,but I believe that talking to the Taliban instead killing them or trying to buy them off is a far better solution than the self-serving,money grubbing,war mongering politicians in Washinnton have to offer.What we need to do is vote these slimy people out and replace them with centrists with moral principles and a sense of decency

    February 21, 2010 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  25. A. Smith, Oregon

    With very typical political speak out of the double sides of Afghanistan's Corrupt President Karzi's mouth, he stated, '"We need to reach the point where there are no civilian casualties," Karzai said. "Our effort and our criticism will continue until we reach that goal."

    All well and good to minimize civilian casualties, however ZERO civilian casualties is entirely non-realistic. Taken simply the problem poised by thousands of existing landmines planted by the Russians, Americans, UK, European, Pakistani and Afghani fighters over the past 30 years that will continue to kill civilians each and every year for decades to come the PR sentiment by President Karzi is completely lacking in fundamental realism of war.

    At the same time however the CIA and their Laural and Hardy Xe lackys appear to be rounding up and killing as many of President Karzi's most vocal critics as they can under the guise of them being 'shadow governors'.

    Perhaps the US Republican politicans have been teaching President Karzi their skills on diplomatic double-speak which has no basis on reality nor on their own actual intentions.

    If President Karzi can convince the CIA to murder all of his alleged enemys or critics, Karzi of course doesn't care that they are Afghani civilians.

    February 21, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  26. Ann Mabry

    Hi Atia, I saw on twitter that you posted something about a Marine giving you a slim jim. That Marine, CPL Charly Mabry, is MY BROTHER! I think that is so awesome he had a chance to talk with you and give you his slim jim 🙂 It is so nice to know that somebody has had contact with him because I haven't heard from him since this invasion has started. My brother and my fiance are both serving in Afghanistan right now so it definitely brought some peace to my heart knowing my brother is okay. Thank you so much for your post, it definitely made my night!

    February 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |