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Marines killed in Afghan blast

KABUL – A bomb blast killed two U.S. Marines in Afghanistan’s dangerous south, where thousands of American troops have been deployed in a massive operation to oust Taliban fighters from the country’s opium poppy region, officials said Sunday.

Some 4,000 Marines moved into Helmand province this month. They have met little head-on resistance but remain vulnerable to guerrilla tactics.

“These terrorist attacks are hard to prevent, can be carried out by a few individuals, and do not require a military force capable of confronting the Marines,” said Arturo Munoz, an expert on the tribal environment in Helmand province with the Washington-based RAND Corp.

“I would expect the Taliban to avoid pitched battles with the Marines in order to avoid a large number of casualties,” he said.

The two Marines were killed Saturday in Helmand. Military officials did not release any other details or give a specific location.

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