U.S. Marines had been active in Helmand since the spring of 2008, when a pre-surge Marine company inserted by helicopter into the Taliban stronghold of Garmser.
Over the past five years, successive Marine units pushed Taliban fighters from their dug-in positions in the “Green Zone,” the fertile, built-up areas along the Helmand River.
Fighting in the birthplace of the Taliban was often fierce – at least 500 Marines died, more than 4,500 were wounded – the highest casualties among U.S. fighting forces in Afghanistan. But now it was almost over.
By July this year, Afghan forces will be in charge of security throughout the country. And by the end of 2014, U.S. Marines will be out of Afghanistan and back at their home bases.
May 12, 2013, 6:35pm / 28