Marines are now encountering stiff resistance in the northern part of Marjah, reports say. Three more coalition troops have lost their lives in the battle, bringing the tally to 11. While more casualties are mounting than previously, it’s still significantly less than what coalition officers had prepared for. The Taliban have also deployed new tactics. Snipers.
Taliban gunfire has always been sporadic, not highly accurate, but concentrated on the target. Now they are utilizing, for the first time in a serious capacity, snipers. Harassing sniper fire is coming very close to coalition forces, slowing them down as they advance through the north and eastern parts of Marjah. Combined with stricter rules of engagement, this makes the infantryman’s job much slower and harder.
Though the resistance in Marjah is stronger in those parts of the city, it is widely held that Taliban leaders have fled the area, leaving only ground forces behind. Officials are worried that activity in the area will pick up significantly when spring rolls around and the weather warms up.