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Amid debate on Capitol Hill over the need for more troops in Afghanistan, security forces on the ground are struggling.
Tough terrain, and the ever present threat of IEDs, means Marines must take on Helmand by foot.
It remains to be seen how effective the Taliban's scare tactics will be in keeping voters from the polls Thursday.
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US Marines, aided by Afghan regulars, are again on the offensive against Taliban forces in Helmand Province, as election day looms.