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Camp Lejeune's Marines start deploying to southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Some of the 3,200 North Carolina-based Marines slated for a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan's volatile south have begun arriving. About 2,200 troops from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be based in Kandahar, the Taliban's former power base. The unit is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. NATO's International Security Assistance Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco said Tuesday that the Marines will conduct a "full spectrum of operations" to capitalize on recent gains by NATO and Afghan forces. The troops began arriving this week. About 1,000 Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment will also be deployed in the south to train Afghan police and soldiers. They are expected to arrive in April or May. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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