Thousands of American, British and Afghan troops have pushed past roadside bombs and booby-traps to secure key parts of a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan.
U.S. helicopters and armored vehicles descended on the farming community of Marjah in Helmand province before dawn Saturday -- the first day of the massive military offensive.
As many as 1,000 insurgents are thought to be entrenched in the area, but U.S. troops say they encountered only sporadic resistance.
A British military spokesman said parts of the town had been secured.Afghan army commander Sher Mohammad Zazai said at least 20 Taliban militants were killed during the initial "face-to-face fighting," and another 11 insurgents were captured.
NATO said one American and one British soldier were killed.British Major General Gordon Messenger said the Taliban have not been able to put up a coherent response and appear "confused and disjointed."