July 13, 2009 About 4,000 U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan are engaged in the largest American military operation in years: rooting out the Taliban in Helmand province. Two NPR journalists who spent time with Marines share two distinctly different stories of how the offensive is unfolding.
July 9, 2009 The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment's Fox Company are part of a massive military offensive under way in southern Afghanistan. After landing in a largely peaceful village, the Marines are trying to build positive ties with locals while seeking out enemy Taliban.
July 4, 2009 The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment — known as "America's Battalion" — are prepared for anything as they move into the southern village of Sorhodez in the Marine offensive to wrest Afghanistan's Helmand River valley from Taliban control.
July 3, 2009 Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, known as "America's Battalion," are part of the force that has launched a major assault in southern Afghanistan. On the night they went into battle, families at home heard the news — and began reaching out for information about loved ones.
July 2, 2009 At least one Marine has been killed and several others injured as a predawn operation launched Thursday continued in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province. About 4,000 Marines are setting up positions in a river valley that has been Taliban stronghold. The operation is the first test of the Obama administration's new counter-insurgency strategy.
July 1, 2009 Thousands of helicopter-borne Marines launched a massive assault early Thursday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand River valley, the main source of the Taliban's cash crop, the poppies that produce heroin. The mission is the first major test of the Obama administration.
July 1, 2009 Roadside bombs are the greatest threat facing troops in Afghanistan. Metal detectors can find many of these bombs. But increasingly, insurgents are using homemade explosives that contain little metal. Now, U.S. Marines are training bomb-sniffing dogs to detect this type of explosive.
June 22, 2009 In 100-degree heat in the southern Afghanistan desert, U.S. Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment are training physically and mentally to prepare for their mission: battling the Taliban insurgency. Their leaders are teaching them to handle the enemy, as well as their own doubts.