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Soldier Captured By Rebels As US Launches Afghan Offensive

As the mission unfolded, information broke that a US soldier had been kidnapped in Paktika province further south. The man, who has not been named for worry of jeopardising his safety, was believed to be the primary US soldier seized in either Iraq or Afghanistan for 2 years. Nonetheless, US officials said the soldier had not been on military duty when he disappeared and Taliban commanders claimed he had been discovered drunk outside his base.

Operation Khanjar, Pashtu for “Strike of the Sword” saw troops strike by means of a valley which has been a “blooding ground” for jihadists and a major centre for poppy harvesting. “You’re going to change the world this summer season and it starts this morning,” Lieutenant-Colonel Christian Cabaniss, the commander of the 2nd battalion, 8th Marines, advised his troops who were dressed in desert fatigues, before they mounted batman shirt funny up helicopters and Humvees. “The United States and the world are watching,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “Their expectations are enormously excessive throughout this summer season of determination.”

In a sign of the dangers facing coalition troops, it was confirmed that Britian had misplaced its highest ranking British soldier since Colonel H Jones was killed in the Falklands. Lieutenant-Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the officer commanding the Welsh Guards, died alongside a trooper when a Viking armoured car in which he was travelling was hit by a roadside bomb in Helmand. Six other soldiers have been injured within the attack.

Yesterday’s operation which additionally concerned 400 Afghan authorities troops marked the first massive test of Washington’s surge strategy. US army Brigadier General Larry Nicholson said the operation differed from earlier ones due to its “massive size”. “The intent is to go large, go sturdy and go quick, and by doing so we’re going to avoid wasting lives on each sides,” he mentioned.

The number of Marines deployed is about the identical as was used through the bloody and controversial first siege of Fallujah, in central Iraq, in 2004. That operation was halted earlier than the town was taken after international shock at the scenes of carnage. For the subsequent six months, Fallujah grew to become an insurgent headquarters, with waves of suicide bombers striking across the area.

The marines are a part of a 22,000-strong group of reinforcements despatched to Afghanistan by Barack Obama in an try and stem the violence at what Washington is looking a seminal juncture within the battle. batman shirt funny up The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has said American persistence is wearing thin and improvements are needed by yr-finish.

Operation Khanjar adopted a smaller British operation additional north alongside the Helmand River valley which regained management of the town of Babaji and surrounding areas north of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gar. British forces have, however, skilled problems in holding ground they have gained because of a lack of numbers.

The US mission began with helicopters dropping Marines into the village of Nawa, 20 miles south of Lashkar Gar, in an area which has not seen the permanent presence of both Western or Afghan authorities troops. The US military stated the transfer had taken the enemy by surprise. “We are form of forging new ground right here. We’re going to a spot nobody has been earlier than,” stated Captain Drew Schoenmaker.

The insurgents retreated into high ground and engaged the Marines in a firefight. Afghan troops were hit with rocket-propelled grenades. With gunfire echoing round them, residents fled into their mud-walled huts.

Following on from Operation Khanjar, a collection of further “mini-missions” is expected to be launched however after that there shall be a pause. US and British forces are usually not anticipated to launch any offensives simply earlier than the 20 August elections and in the period instantly afterwards “so as not to impress violence”.

Yesterday, the Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi declared that the Americans would not be allowed to “occupy Afghan soil”. He added: “We have a large number of our fighters in the world. The Americans… won’t have a everlasting victory.”

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