Taliban forces dig in for big assault, say villagers | world | Hindustan Times
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Taliban forces dig in for big assault, say villagers

world Updated: Feb 08, 2010 00:52 IST

Taliban are preparing for a big fight ahead of a majorTaliban offensive in an insurgent stronghold in southern Afghanistan, villagers fleeing the area said on Sunday.

US Marines are set to launch a massive operation within days to take Marjah, a dense warren of canals and lush farmland in the centre of Helmand, the country’s most violent province.

Military commanders are dubbing the area the last big Taliban enclave in the province. The offensive, one of the biggest of the eight-year-old war, will mark the first major show of force since US President Barack Obama ordered in 30,000 extra troops.

The US hopes the operation will help decisively turn the momentum this year in a war that commanders accept has not been going their way. The marine offensive hasn’t been kept a secret, hoping the militants will give up the fight.