US Marines launch major new offensive in Afghanistan(Read article summary)
About 4,000 soldiers are flooding into the southern Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province in the first test of new US strategy.
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Dubbed Operation Khanjar, or "Strike of the Sword," it's the first major military operation under President Obama, and will test his strategy of shifting the US military focus away from Iraq and toward stabilizing Afghanistan. US marines aim to move in and hold a swath of territory that is a Taliban stronghold and the world's largest opium poppy producing area, according to the Associated Press.
Coalition forces hope the massive sudden assault will turn the tide of fighting in Helmand, where British troops have been locked in stalemate for three years....
The force, borne by helicopters and vehicle convoys, was expected to stage a fast and furious clearance of militant strongholds, as part of the US army's "clear hold and build" strategy.
US marines will then consolidate their hold in the region, trying to provide security in the run up to next month's Presidential elections.