U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah In Afghanistan over the weekend, U.S. Marines started an offensive targeting the southern Taliban stronghold of Marjah. The going has been relatively slow because attack routes have been saturated with roadside bombs.
NPR logo U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah

U.S. Afghan Forces Push Deeper Into Marjah

In Afghanistan over the weekend, U.S. Marines started an offensive targeting the southern Taliban stronghold of Marjah. The going has been relatively slow because attack routes have been saturated with roadside bombs.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is with the Marines, and she joins us now. Hello, Soraya.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So, can you give us a brief overview of what conditions are where you are?

SARHADDI NELSON: So, it's been very difficult for them. They have had to tread very carefully. At the same time, there are insurgents still out there, shooting pretty regularly to try and draw the Marines out. What the Marines suspect is they're hoping to get them to come forward enough that perhaps they will step on one of these IEDs that have not been uncovered yet.

MONTAGNE: And as you say, you've come under quite a bit of fire, am I right?

SARHADDI NELSON: That's correct. It's sporadic and it's ineffective, as the Marines call it. I mean, it's - it doesn't - they're not using the most sophisticated weapons, although periodically they seem to pull out DShK or some other, you know, high caliber machine gun that they have. But it's basically - I mean, you can't just ignore it, because, obviously, you don't want these people getting closer.

MONTAGNE: Could you tell us what you know about the civilian casualties? What more do you know about that?

SARHADDI NELSON: They've also been treating civilians. There was a wounded civilian this morning who was brought here in a wheelbarrow by his two sons. The gentleman claims to be about 80 years old. In Afghanistan, age doesn't mean much since birthdays aren't celebrated, but he was definitely an elderly gentleman, and he was shot in the groin area. The bullet wound exited. And so they - he claimed he was shot by an Afghan soldier, but, of course, you know, there is no 100 percent proof of it. But whatever the case was, the Marines treated him, and they're medevaccing him out.

MONTAGNE: Soraya, thanks very much.

SARHADDI NELSON: You are welcome, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is with a platoon of the 3rd Battalion 6th Marines regiment, taking part in the offensive in southern Afghanistan.

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