US general: Helmand push paves way for surge

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2009 5:01 PM

Gen. David Petraeus says the Marine Corps offensive launched Friday in southern Afghanistan is part of preparations for the arrival of 30,000 new U.S. reinforcements.

Petraeus told The Associated Press that the military has been working for months to extend what he called "the envelope of security" around key towns in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. The top general in charge of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars spoke Friday about President Barack Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan.

U.S. Marines swooped down behind Taliban lines Friday in the first offensive since Obama announced the surge.

About 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops were taking part in a bid to disrupt Taliban supply and communications lines in the Now Zad Valley of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.