41 Taliban killed in firefight near Kandahar; Mountain Lion & the 3-block war
Afghan and Coalition forces have met the Taliban’s much-heralded springtime offensive head on. “Acting on intelligence reports that Taliban have gathered in Sangisar to plan an attack in Kandahar, we launched this operation Friday and the fighting continued from morning to evening,” said Asadullah Khalid, the provincial governor of Kandahar. Afghan security forces, backed by U.S. Apache gunships, launched a strike against the Taliban in the town of Sangisar, and killed 41 Taliban fighters and wounded several more. Six police were killed and nine were wounded in the strike. A Canadian unit responding to assist in the fighting was hit by an RPG attack, but no Canadian soldiers were injured.
In Uruzgan Province, a joint Afghan and Coalition mission broke up an al Qaeda cell. The Afghans provided the ground forces, while the Coalition provided AC-130 gunships. “Elements of the 3rd Kandak [Battalion], 1st Brigade, of the ANA’s 205th Corps and Coalition members killed two insurgent fighters and detained two people who were responsible for recruiting suicide bombers to attack Afghan government officials and Coalition forces.”
In Kunar province, Coalition and Afghan forces complete the third day of Operation Mountain Lion. CENTCOM reports no major engagements were encountered in Kunar, except for the discovery of weapons caches in Khost Province.
But Mountain Lion is not purely a kinetic [combat] operation. The military is fighting the “Three Block War” (the close if not simultaneous conduct of combat, stability and support, and humanitarian operations) in Afghanistan. CENTCOM reports that as Mountain Lion is carried out in the Pech River Valley, “construction and development projects are gathering momentum. In one project – for which the materials already are en route – Coalition forces will build a bridge over the Pech River . The bridge project will provide jobs through a local contractor, stimulate commerce by providing a new crossing and ensure that surrounding villages no longer will be isolate when water levels rise in the winter and spring.”