2 NATO Troops Die

Two NATO troops have died during the latest surge in Afghanistan, part of a major push to gain control over the Marja region, a longtime Taliban stronghold. Meanwhile, a British general has said that UK troops in the surge have accomplished their “key objectives.” In the wee hours of Saturday, close to 3,500 U.S. Marines and 1,500 Afghan soldiers descended on Marja and brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson said, “We’re going to take Marja away from the Taliban.” The operation is one of the largest ever in Afghanistan and is marked by closer cooperation with Afghan forces than previous missions; local tribal elders reportedly support the surge. Officials are keeping a close eye on the mission, called a “test of the central government’s ability to reach down to a still-volatile part of the country and deliver sustainable governance" by the State Department representative to the Marine brigade.