Gunbattles Erupt in Marja, Afghanistan

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today is Day 3 of a major Afghan-NATO offensive that's trying to reclaim Marja, Afghanistan from the Taliban.

The Associated Press reports that major gunbattles are erupting across the town today between insurgent sniper teams and a joint team of U.S. Marines, Afghan and British troops.

Some 15,000 troops are part of the Marja offensive, which began on Saturday. It's the biggest joint military operation since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Before the offensive began, President Hamid Karzai had begged Afghan and foreign commanders to be "careful for the safety of civilians." But Sunday, the second day of the offensive, two U.S. rockets slammed into a home outside Marja, killing 12 civilians. The AP reports that the rockets missed their target by about a third of a mile.

International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan Commander General Stanley McChrystal apologized to President Karzai for the civilians killed in the rocket attack and promised a review of this incident.

Two soldiers--one American and one British--have been killed so far in the offensive. Afghan officials said at least 27 insurgents have been killed, according to The AP.

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