Keepem In Your Thoughts In Prayers Please

U.S. Marines launch assault in southern Afghan valley Reuters
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A U.S. Marine from 5th Battalion 10th Marines patrols with a member of an Afghan border guard unit in the desert of the lower Helmand River valley, in Reuters – A U.S. Marine from 5th Battalion 10th Marines patrols with a member of an Afghan border guard unit in … 37 mins ago

LOWER HELMAND RIVER VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN (Reuters) – U.S. Marines launched a helicopter assault early on Thursday in the lower Helmand river valley in southern Afghanistan, spokesman Capt. Bill Pelletier said.

A Reuters correspondent in the valley saw flares in the sky over the town of Nawa, south of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.

The valley of irrigated wheat and opium fields along the Helmand river is largely in the hands of Taliban fighters who have resisted British-led NATO forces for years.

The United States has sent 8,500 Marines to Helmand province in the last two months, the largest wave of a massive buildup of forces that will see the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan rise from 32,000 at the beginning of this year to 68,000 by year's end.

President Barack Obama has declared the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan to be the main security threat facing the United States.

Helmand province is one of the Taliban's main heartlands in southern Afghanistan and produces the largest share of the country's opium crop which supplies 90 percent of the world's heroin.

Attacks by Taliban fighters are at their highest levels since the strict Islamists were driven out of Kabul by U.S.-backed Afghan opponents in 2001 after refusing to turn over Osama bin Laden in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

U.S. and NATO commanders have said they intend to deploy American reinforcements to seize Taliban-held territory in the south in time for Afghanistan to hold a presidential election on August 20.

(Reporting by Peter Graff, editing by Tim Pearce)


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10 Responses Jul 1, 2009

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This is what our news is saying. Plus two britsh soliders and a four americans have been killed. This is turing into a nightmare and I hope all pray for all there safety that they come home safetly.....xx<br />
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US Soldier Seized Amid Major Offensive<br />
1 hour 19 mins ago<br />
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© Sky News 2009 <br />
Print StoryThousands of US Marines have stormed deep into Taliban territory in Afghanistan - as it emerged an American soldier was being held captive by militants. Skip related content<br />
Related photos / videos <br />
Pakistan To Stop Taliban Fleeing US Push <br />
Enlarge photo .Almost 4,000 US forces joined 650 Afghan police and soldiers in the pre-dawn launch into southern Helmand province.<br />
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As the surge got under way, a US military spokeswoman confirmed an American soldier was taken prisoner by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.<br />
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Captain Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier has been missing since June 30.<br />
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Meanwhile, Pakistani and US officials were concerned the offensive in southern Afghanistan could push militants across the poorly-guarded, mountainous border into Pakistan.<br />
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"We've mustered more troops from the other areas of the border" to position opposite the Helmand region, said Pakistan's Major General Athar Abbas.<br />
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Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) deployed 50 aircraft, as US President Barack Obama's new war plan swung into action.<br />
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Officers said the aim of the air and land assault was to push troops into insurgent strongholds.<br />
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"What makes Operation Khanjar different from those that have occurred before is the massive size of the force introduced, the speed at which it will insert," US Brigadier General Larry Nicholson said.<br />
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American troops would hold taken areas until they could transfer security responsibilities to Afghan forces, he added.<br />
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Military commanders said Operation Khanjar would convince local people that the Afghan security forces - backed by international troops - offered them a better long-term future than the Islamist hardliners.<br />
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Set to last 36 hours in its first highly aggressive phase, the offensive aims to bring security to the Helmand valley ahead of presidential elections on August 20.<br />
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At a pre-launch briefing, Brig Gen Nicholson told his men: "This is a big, risky plan. It involves great risks and amazing opportunities. These are days of immense change for Helmand province.<br />
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"We're going down there, and we're going to stay - that's what is different this time."<br />
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Reflecting the new US strategy, he stressed that the security needs of Helmand's residents came before killing Taliban.<br />
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Key targets of the assault include the districts of Garmsir and Nawa, which are towards the southern border with Pakistan.<br />
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Many of the insurgents are said to take refuge in those locations, and are involved in the opium trade funding the Taliban.<br />

wow...dont know why this is hitting me like it is now, but i really am scared this **** is real...i was always afraid for our men, but damn today has just hit me really hard...and reading this is just bringing it up front to my mind...<br />
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prayers to everyone!! bless our troops and families!! i pray they all get home to their loved ones safely!!<br />
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love you ladies

yup, definitely gonna repeat what all these ladies have, said, but I am prayin for all the men & women over seas, Afghanistan especially, and for all the significant others who have men & women deployed over there, especially all our EP girls..I love you ladies!! keep your chins up!! I'm prayin for you all!!!

think about them and pray for them every day...Ill be praying extra hard for all of them, and especially for those of you who have your men deployed. Thank you for your strength...and I thank them for their loyalty, bravery and strength. <br />
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I'm with these girls. I pray about all of our troops overseas every night. I will say an extra prayer for those in Afghanistan tonight. My heart is with all of you going through deployment right now. I haven't been there yet and I commend you all for being so strong.

To everyone with deployed Marines -- thank you, and I'll be thinking of you tonight and every other night.<br />
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Nat and all others with Marines in Afghanistan, I'll say an extra prayer for you tonight.

I've just been reading up on that because not only is it affecting me now but in about a month or so it will really be affecting me :/<br />
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My prayers to all deployed troops and supporting loved ones.

Our Marines abroad are always in my prayers, but I will say a special prayer for those in Afghanistan.....Nat I am thinking about you girl....and anyone else who's Marines are in the A....

to the ladies with their Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, I do think and pray for you everyday. I know there is no stress like combat stress for those who are home. You are in my heart.