Injured Taliban fighters receive medical treatment after they were captured. Aboard a Blackhawk helicopter on a medevac mission, with U.S. Army flight medic Sgt. Michael G. Patangan, left, from Houston, Texas, and fellow flight medic Sgt. Bryan Eickelberg, of Arden Hills, Minn. Saturday Feb. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

American medics treat wounded Taliban fighters on Saturday.(Brennan Linsley/AP)

By Mark Memmott

The top of the news this morning from southern Afghanistan is that Marine Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson says it could take up to a month or so for U.S., Afghan and allied forces to clear Taliban fighters out of Marjah, the commercial crossroads where an offensive is now underway.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who is with some of the U.S. Marines on the ground there, tells NPR's newscast division that "perhaps even more dangerous than the militants are the IEDs that are just everywhere."

IEDs are the so-called improvised explosive devices that have been so deadly for U.S. forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Marines are methodically clearing the areas they take of the deadly bombs.

Soraya also reports that even in parts of the area that are basically now in the Marines' control, they are still getting shot at. Just 10 minutes after Gen. Nicholson left one spot there, she says, militants resumed firing on the Americans.

In another spot, the AP reports:

Sniper fire forced Nicholson to duck behind an earthen bank in the northern part of the city where he toured the tip of the Marines' front line held by Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.
"The fire we just took reflects how I think this will go -- small pockets of sporadic fighting by small groups of very mobile individuals," he said.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. Soraya has called in to update the Newcast division. In this clip, she describes how the Marines destroyed some of the IEDs they encountered:

categories: Afghanistan, Military

8:15 - February 14, 2010