Though major fighting may end soon, Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said it may be a month or more before the entire battle space is cleared of insurgents or enemy threats. The area for Operation Moshtarak, roughly 15 miles by 18 miles (25 km by 30km), extends well beyond the city of Marja into the Nad-e Ali district, much of it farmland.
As Marines and Afghan forces tighten their grip on the city there is a possibility, maybe expectation, that insurgents will regroup and launch a counterattack. It is at that point international forces here could finally break the back of the Taliban in Marja.
Mike Gudgell and Zoe Magee contributed to this report.