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Insurgents put up resistance in Taliban town

MARJAH, Afghanistan (AP) - Fighting is intensifying in the militant stronghold of Marjah with U.S. Marines facing "stiff resistance," even as shops reopen in the northern part of the Afghan town.

A Marine spokesman says troops are seeing "more fortified positions" from insurgents.

Five NATO service members and one Afghan soldier have been killed in the six-day-old offensive.

Parts of Marjah under Afghan and NATO control have, however, seen families and shopkeepers return, a sign some civilians believe the fighting is over in the secured zones. Customers are lining up to buy goods for the first time in nearly a week.

Once the town of 80,000 people is secure, NATO plans to work to revive schools, health clinics and electricity in hopes of winning public support.

It's a challenge NATO was reminded of yesterday. A police official says eight members of the Afghan National Police defected to the Taliban.


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