Afghanistan launches massive anti-Taliban operation 2006-09-16 21:31:54

    KABUL, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- About 3,000 U.S.-led coalition forces along with 4,000 Afghan troops and policemen Saturday launched a massive anti-Taliban operation in eastern and central provinces of Afghanistan, a coalition statement said.

    Operation Mountain Fury was kicked off in the morning to defeat Taliban resistance in Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, Paktia and Logar provinces, it said.

    "Mountain Fury is just one part of a series of coordinated operations placing continuous pressure on Taliban extremists across multiple regions of the country," the statement said.

    The goal of Mountain Fury is to not only defeat Taliban extremists in this region, but to continue the process of economic growth and development, it added.

    Meanwhile, about 10,000 ISAF and Afghan troops are continuing Operation Medusa to wipe out Taliban militants in Panjwai district of the southern Kandahar province, according to the statement.

    About 2,500 U.S. ground troops and the U.S. Air Force have fought in Panjwai to support the operation, it said.

    However, at the beginning of Operation Medusa on Sept. 2, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) only said 2,000 ISAF and Afghan troops were being involved in the offensive.

    The unexpected fierce Taliban resistance in the area apparently has drawn in more ISAF, Afghan and coalition troops.

    Meantime, another operation named Big North Wind is continuing to fight Taliban extremists in the Korangal Valley of the eastern Kunar province, the statement said.

    "The combined operations of Big North Wind, Mountain Fury and Operation Medusa will increase security to the Afghan people and prevent the intimidation that is the trademark of the Taliban," said Maj. Gen. Ben Freakley with coalition forces.

    About 20,000 coalition troops have been deployed in eastern Afghanistan to hunt down militants there, while about 21,000 ISAF soldiers are staying in other regions to keep security and facilitate reconstruction.

    Also on Saturday, three Afghan employees of a non-governmental organization (NGO) were killed and another wounded as a remote-controlled bomb targeted their vehicle in Musayi district in the south of the central Kabul province, an official with Interior Ministry told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

    He named the NGO as IMC, which he said provides potable water to locals.

    He said the enemies of the country, a term used to refer to the Taliban, had carried out the attack.

    About 2,000 NGOs, most of which come from western countries, have served in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime's collapse nearly five years ago.

    Afghanistan is suffering from a rise of Taliban-linked violence this year, during which more than 2,300 people, mostly Taliban rebels, have been killed. Among the fatalities are over 100 foreign troops. Enditem

Editor: Yao Runping
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