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Operation Cobra's Anger

12:20 PM, Dec 5, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The AP reports:

U.S. Marines and Afghan troops have killed at least seven Taliban fighters during the first U.S.-led offensive since President Barack Obama announced a new American war plan this week, Afghan officials said Saturday.

American and Afghan troops have met little resistance since Operation Cobra's Anger was launched Friday to disrupt Taliban supply and communications lines in the strategic Now Zad Valley of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, Marine officials said.

About 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops are taking part in the offensive, including hundreds of Marines dropped behind Taliban lines by helicopters and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. A second, larger Marine force pushed northward from the Marines' main base.

General McChrystal's troop request came as part of an assessment in which he declared, "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) - while Afghan security capacity matures - risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." The commitment of additional troops to the fight, the opening of a new operation with a bad-ass name like Cobra's Anger, the reporting of enemy body counts produced by Marines dropped behind enemy lines in MV-22 Ospreys -- this is how U.S. troops begin to regain the initiative, if not on the ground then in the media, where the Taliban have been increasingly successful in their effort to foster the perception that a U.S. defeat is inevitable. Four months after McChrystal delivered his assessment, Cobra's Anger feels like the first step in reversing insurgent momentum.