Operation on Taliban slows down

By Abdul Hadi Mayar
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, February 22, 2010
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As Operation Moshtarak, or Together, launched by the NATO-led troops and Afghan forces entered into its second week on Saturday, Major General Nick Carter, the British commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, said his forces face stiff resistance in parts of Marjah.

The Operation Mashtarak, which means together in local language, which was launched to clear Marjah district in southern Helmand province of Taliban militants, entered its seventh day Friday while reconstruction have started. [Xinhua] 

The operation, launched after the announcement of the new United States strategy on Afghanistan, was described, by the Western media, as test of the new U.S.-NATO policy against the insurgent Taliban.

Apart from political, economic and diplomatic steps, the new strategy envisages military action against the hardcore and irreconcilable Taliban fighters.

For the purpose, the U.S. has announced to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

Besides, several NATO member-states have also promised to increase the number of their troops in the war-ravaged country.

The operation in Marjah, a Taliban controlled town in the southern Helmand province, was deliberately propagated on media to force the Taliban into receding from the town without any bloodshed.

However, the ensuing events showed that the militants are firmly entrenched in the town and they are offering stiff resistance. "The war is still raging in the same areas where it had been started," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told media on Friday.

Rather, he claimed success, saying that the Taliban had killed dozens of troops and destroyed several tanks.

His claim may certainly be exaggerating, aimed to browbeat the enemy, but the slow progress in the operation itself speaks volume of the difficulties, which the U.S.-led NATO forces are facing in the area.

Marjah is a small town of some 80,000 people and an area of several square kilometers. Major General Nick Carter says the coalition forces would need 25 to 30 days to secure the area.

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