Hundreds of Marines who have previously fought in Iraq, took part in an assault on Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan. This was the first major action for the 2,300 Marines who arrived in Afghanistan the past few weeks. US military officials said the Taliban had been expecting an assault and had planted homemade bombs. Marines and militants exchanged gunfire and Major Tom Clinton noted: “We haven’t seen anybody who isn’t carrying a gun. They’re trying to figure out what we’re doing. They’re shooting at us, letting us know they’re here.”
The more critical issue is why, after seven years of training and fighting, isn’t the Afghanistan army better prepared to deal with Taliban insurgents. Senator McCain threw out an off hand remark several months ago about remaining in the Middle East for a 100 years. Unlesss the Afghans can handle their own defense, his comment may well prove accurate.