Marines turn Afghan town over to British, Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S. Marines today turned over responsibility for Garmser, a key town in southern Afghanistan, to British and Afghan forces.

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit took the area from Taliban militants in an operation earlier this year. It's now beginning to head back to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Officials say the unit launched the operation in the Taliban-held area in late April and killed more than 400 militants during 35 days of fighting.

The Marines suffered three hostile deaths, two from a roadside bomb and one from gunfire.

Colonel Peter Petronzio, commander of the unit, calls Garmser "a great success story of what a Marine unit can do."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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