Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Fireworks Start Early

"The stiffest resistance occurred in the district of Garmser, where Taliban fighters holed up in a walled housing compound engaged in an eight-hour gun battle with troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment. The Marines eventually requested a Harrier fighter jet to drop a 500-pound bomb on the compound, which was believed to have killed all fighters inside.

The commanders directing the huge Marine security operation here had said they hoped not to rely on airstrikes, which have resulted in numerous civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the past seven years. Officers here noted with pride Thursday that they had not used bombs or artillery in the first 24 hours of the mission.

But they were left with little choice after the insurgents refused to surrender. Even so, senior officers emphasized that they had watched the building -- from the ground and with surveillance aircraft -- for almost a day before concluding there were no civilians inside.

There was no immediate count of insurgents killed, although ground commanders reported that 30 to 40 were shooting from in and around the compound early in the day. The airstrike also resulted in several secondary explosions, leading Marines at the site to suspect that the house may have contained homemade bombs. "(WP)

Nowadays US Air Force is pretty much a FedEx for JDAMs.