Forces move into Taliban stronghold

A policeman frisks a man as US soldiers look on at Khogiani in Langarhar yesterday. (AFP)

Marines and Afghan units have converged on a dangerous western quarter of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, with Nato forces facing "determined resistance" as their assault on the southern town entered its second week.

Yesterday, Marine and Afghan companies moved on a 5.2 sq km area of the town, where more than 40 rebels have apparently holed up.

About 15,000 Afghan and Nato troops faced tough fighting as Operation Mushtarak entered a second week, with gunfights and hidden bombs bogging down attempts to secure the Nad Ali and Marjah areas of the southern province of Helmand.

Civilians locked down by boobytrap bombs in the conflict zone were facing increasingly desperate conditions but officials were hopeful that an elite Afghan police force would soon be able to control parts of Marjah township.

Also yesterday, Nato said one service member had died in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, and two died on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan.

 

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