20 October, 2006

Operation Eagle

NATO forces in Afghanistan have launched Operation Eagle. According to the Kuwait News Agency,

NATO commander Lt Gen David Richards told a news conference in Kabul that they were launching a new countrywide operation. He said the operation would be jointly conducted with the Afghan military to keep the militants under pressure.

Although the general did not give details, the operation is aimed to strike a decisive blow at the Taliban during the coming winter season. The operation has been codenamed as "Operation Eagle." The NATO commander said the purpose of the operation was to encourage the much needed reconstruction and development across Afghanistan.
Despite the references to "across Afghanistan", reports over the last week indicate that the main business in still in the east on the border with Pakistan from where as the Hindustan Times reports, Taliban infiltration is a problem.
Taliban fighters told this week how they crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan to carry out a "jihad" against troops after mullahs said it was their duty as Muslims.

The young men -- two Pakistanis and an Afghan -- were captured after a fierce five-hour battle in Paktika province on Tuesday, just a few kilometers (miles) from the border.

During the battle, 24 of their fellow fighters were killed. The bloodied and broken bodies were later shown to reporters by the Afghan army at a base in Barmal district.

The dead were mostly Afghans but included an Arab, Chechens, Pakistanis, Turks and a man from Yemen, an officer said, citing information from the captured three, identity cards and, in one case, a name on a bullet belt.

"Mullahs in Pakistan were preaching to us that we are obliged to fight jihad in Afghanistan because there are foreign troops -- there is an Angriz (British) invasion," dishevelled Alahuddin told reporters.

"A Pakistani Taliban commander, Saifullah, introduced us to a guide who escorted us to Barmal," he said. "Then he left and we joined a group already here and came to the ambush site."

It was only Alahuddin's second day in Afghanistan and it went horribly wrong.

His group of 32 Taliban lay in wait for an army convoy, launching a clumsy attack mainly with AK-47 machine guns.

The Afghan soldiers and their International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) counterparts retaliated. Two columns of support quickly arrived and surrounded the attackers as attack helicopters were called in.

After five hours of fighting, 24 Taliban and a (Afghan] soldier were dead. Some of the rebels not killed by the troops blew themselves up with their own grenades, soldiers said...

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