U.S. soldiers brace for big fight in Afghanistan


The long war continues in Afghanistan. On Monday, Taliban suicide bombers struck a city in the west that had been relatively quiet. A car-bomb exploded at an Italian army base in Herat, near Afghanistan's border with Iran. A second bomb tore through a bus stop. Five people were killed and about three dozen wounded, including five Italian soldiers.

On the eastern edge of Afghanistan, in Paktika Province, this Memorial Day found American troops in combat. CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark reports that the soliders there are bracing for even more fighting, soon to come.

It's the end of the day at the combat outpost in Afghanistan, in Marga, which is right near the Pakistani border. For the soldiers at Fox Company, this is just an ordinary day in an extraordinary place, just two miles away from the Pakistani border, which is just over some nearby mountains.

The soldiers of Fox Company are preparing for the influx of insurgents that come every spring, because this time of year is known as the fighting season. It's when the insurgents who have wintered in Pakistan - where they got training and more equipment - return to Afghanistan to use their new skills and weapons. They are almost surely coming over to bring the fight to the soldiers in Afghanistan.

There were ceremonies across Afghanistan to mark Memorial Day, but for most soldiers there, they were there to fight, and casualties are still coming in hard and fast.

On Monday morning, for the sixth day in the row, the base Paktika Province came under attack. One shallow rocket landed just outside the base, another landed inside the base. Whenever they come under attack, the soldiers have to defend themselves. They call in the heavy weapons, the big guns, to repel those attacks. There is always a danger that civilian targets may get caught in the crossfire.

One unit of very young men, based in the heart of Afghanistan's tribal area, a very austere remote place, really has to find the balance between fighting a war -- and winning the peace.