Two senior defense officials say 14 M1A1 Abrams tanks and 115 additional Marines will be deployed next month. They spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to discuss battlefield tactics.
The officials said Friday this is a first for the U.S. in the 9-year-old war, though Canadians and Danish troops have already used the huge, heavily armored combat vehicles in Afghanistan.
Officials say the tanks will help Marines keep insurgents away from key population areas and help troops move into insurgent safe havens. Officials say the tanks can bring extra protection and added firepower and help troops observe key routes where militants place roadside bombs.