Marines face daunting task, heavy price in taking on Taliban
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines tell of snipers who fire from "murder holes" cut into mud-walled compounds. Fighters who lie in wait in trenches dug around rough farmhouses clustered together for protection. Farmers who seem to tip the Taliban to the outsiders' every movement -- often with signals that sound like birdcalls.
When the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, deployed to the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province in late September, the British soldiers who preceded them warned the Americans that the Taliban would be waiting nearly everywhere for a chance to kill them.
But the Marines of the Three-Five, ordered to be more aggressive than the British, quickly learned that the Taliban wasn't simply waiting.
In Sangin, the Taliban was coming after them.