ISAF and Afghan forces launched a combined operation into Kandahar’s Panjwai district, a Taliban stronghold. Three villages are the target of the operation, which is being carried out by US and Canadian forces, as well as more than 800 Afghan troops. From The New York Times:
Hundreds of Afghan and American troops on Saturday made an air assault into the horn of Panjwai, a wide area that has served as the main base for the Taliban threatening Kandahar city, Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the commander of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, said.
The assault, involving about 800 Afghan soldiers, is the most critical part of the Kandahar operation, a movement progressing since August to push the Taliban out of the city and surrounding districts, and to cut infiltration routes.
Troops moved Saturday morning just after midnight into the village of Mushan, which has served as a Taliban headquarters, General Carter said in an interview at his headquarters at the Kandahar airfield. Hundreds more went into the village of Zangabad farther to the east on Friday morning, he said.
The villages lie in an area that NATO forces call the horn of Panjwai because of its shape like a rhino’s horn. A third Taliban stronghold in the center of the area, in the village of Taluqan, remains in Taliban hands.
Like the operation in Kandahar’s Zhari district which was launched in mid-September, the Panjwai operation is aimed to hit at the Taliban’s center of gravity in the southern province.
And unlike the operation in Marja in neighboring Helmand province, both the Panjwai and Zhari operations were launched with little fanfare. Marja turned out to be a public relations disaster for ISAF, as providing security in the district proved much tougher than was sold to the public and the much-touted the “government in a box” strategy was never realized.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.