About 4,000 soldiers are flooding into the southern Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province in the first test of new US strategy.
In Helmand Province, poppy cultivation funds insurgent activities. As the operation began, the US military announced a US soldier had been captured in another province.
Key challenges remain, including the discontent of former Sunni insurgents recruited by the US and credited with improving security.
When Fallujah was more famous for a favored kebab joint than urban combat, Dan Murphy recalls, the Monitor's Chevy would turn toward the city like a meat-seeking missile whenever the team got within 60 miles.
The coup happened apparently against US wishes, showing the erosion of America’s influence in a region it once controlled.
In Mosul, the mechanics – and effectiveness – of US supporting role are not yet clear.
An exchange of ambassadors is part of Obama's policy of engagement over confrontation.
The troops will form 'belts' around volatile cities like Mosul, where some fear gains in stability will be lost when US troops pull out on June 30.