Afghanistan (CBS) - U.S. Marines launched a new offensive in Afghanistan just before dawn.
The Marines stormed a town in Southern Afghanistan trying to take back its streets from the Taliban.
The first wave of the new offensive left at least seven enemy dead after some heavy firefights. Marines said the resistance was so strong, they think the Taliban knew they were coming.
The Taliban has controlled the province where the fighting was taking place for years. This operation sent U.S. and NATO forces into the biggest town in the area for the first time.
Since President Obama decided to deploy 21,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, American and coalition forces have been ramping up operations like this one in an effort to cut off the Taliban's growing power.
Commanders are also counting on this offensive to help secure Afghanistan's second-ever Presidential election, set for next week. They believe pushing Taliban fighters out of cities and towns they now control will make residents feel safe enough to leave their homes and vote.
It won't be easy, Taliban leaders vow to do everything they can to disrupt the elections, and to hold onto those parts of the country they control.