For U.S. Troops, One More Big Push in Afghanistan : NPR
Several thousand soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are taking part in what is being called the last major combat offensive of the Afghan War.
Their task is to clear Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold and a key prize because it straddles the major roads to Kabul and the insurgent supply routes into Pakistan.
But the American troops are challenged by a stubborn enemy and a short time to finish the job.
The first casualty happened before the mission even started: An Afghan army soldier, Burhan Muddin, was standing watch at his combat outpost when a Taliban gunman slipped out of a crowd and opened fire.
A single bullet pierced the Afghan soldier’s chest.