Posts Tagged ‘US Marines’

By Richard Oppel, Jr.

MARJA, Afghanistan — Since their offensive here in February, the Marines have flooded Marja with hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. The tactic aims to win over wary residents by paying them compensation for property damage or putting to work men who would otherwise look to the Taliban for support. (more…)

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DAHANEH (AFGHANISTAN): The US Marines came uninvited to Abdul-Hamid’s home in this southern Afghan town and made their presence felt.

They blew holes in the mud walls that surround the several small buildings in his family’s compound, broke through rooms hunting for weapons and militants, and handcuffed and blindfolded the men. Their main target: Abdul-Hamid’s neighbor and the neighbor’s sons, all suspected insurgents. (more…)

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KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s August 20 presidential election will be a test of a U.S. strategy that has seen 30,000 extra troops arrive this year, the most violent since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001.

The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is expected to deliver a strategy assessment shortly after the election. (more…)

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The Washington Post


Under Strict Rules to Protect Civilians, Marines Face More Complex Missions

MIANPOSHTEH, Afghanistan — The new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, as articulated in military headquarters and congressional hearing rooms, puts the emphasis not on killing Taliban fighters but on winning over the local people. But in this highly contested swath of Helmand province, Sgt. Anibal Paz’s squad is likely to be ambushed before he has time to sit down for tea.

The sergeants’ war that Paz fights is often craftier and more complex than the war mapped out by generals, and it’s always dirtier and bloodier. Young Americans and Afghans set out to taunt and lure their foes, then try to outsmart or outgun them. The running clashes that result send villagers fleeing their fields, hampering the U.S. Marines’ overarching mission of making the local population feel secure. (more…)

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DAHANEH, Afghanistan — The British jet called in by the U.S. Marines had the Taliban position in site, but the pilot refused to fire, a decision that frustrated Marines on the ground but one in line with new orders by the top U.S. commander to protect civilians.

The Marines themselves didn’t attack militants shooting at them Wednesday because women and children were in the compound, an approach meant to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.

“They did that on purpose,” sniper platoon leader 1st Lt. Joseph Cull, 28, of Delafield, Wisconsin, said of the Taliban. “They are trying to bait us.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has made protecting Afghan civilians his top priority. The approach is a shift away from a military mindset whose traditional first response has been to kill as many militants as possible. By holding fire McChrystal hopes to avoid the massive civilian casualty cases of past months and years and help win over Afghan villagers. (more…)

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