Some 7,000 new U.S. troops ordered to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama are fanning out across the country's dangerous south on a mission to defeat an increasingly violent Taliban insurgency.
Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Abe Sipe says 7,000 troops from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade are now in the country. The brigade is based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The Marines represent the first wave of 21,000 troops ordered to
Afghanistan this summer. Most of the buildup will take place in Helmand and Kandahar.
The two southern provinces lie at the heart of the insurgency and are close to the border with Pakistan, where the Taliban's top leadership is believed to be based.
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