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Operation Khanjar

Operation Khanjar

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US on Massive Offensive in Afghanistan By VOA News02 July 2009In this June 20, 2009 image, U.S.

Marines pass through a poppy field during operations against the Taliban near Now Zad in Afghanistan's Helmand provinceAbout 4,000 U.S.

Marines descended on Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan Thursday, launching the first major operation under U.S.

President Barack Obama's new strategy to stabilize the country.The U.S.

troops and about 650 Afghan troops and police pushed into the lower Helmand River valley, the heart of the Taliban insurgency, during the pre-dawn hours.Some troops rolled into designated towns and villages in armored convoys while others descended from helicopters.The U.S.

military says the troops' mission is to flush out insurgents and maintain security ahead of presidential elections on August 2000.Marine Brigadier General Larry Nicholson said troops will build outposts and live among the people.

He said the ultimate goal is the "transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces".The offensive, which is called "Operation Khanjar" or "Strike of the Sword", is the largest and fastest-moving operation under Mr.

Obama's revamped strategy in Afghanistan.Helmand province is also the main producer of Afghan opium, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's supplyU.S.

officials say the opium trade in Afghanistan provides part of the Taliban's fundingSome information for this report was provided by Reuters �E-mail �� �Print ��

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-07-02-voa5.cfm
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