Day three of the U.S. military's major offensive against the Taliban in Marja, Afghanistan, was marked by intense fighting on both sides. U.S. Marines and Afghan troops came under heavy fire in the Taliban stronghold Sunday, Reuters reports, while NATO rockets killed 12 Afghan civilians in an attempt to hit its Taliban attackers. The news of the civilian deaths has come as especially devastating because, from the start of the campaign, military officials have stressed the importance of winning the support of local residents. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies and will ensure we do all we can to avoid future incidents," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a statement. Some are comparing the campaign to the 2004 offensive in Fallujah, Iraq: "In Fallujah, it was just as intense," said Captain Ryan Sparks. "But there, we started from the north and worked down to the south. In Marja, we're coming in from different locations and working toward the center, so we're taking fire from all angles."