– AFGHAN ‘KAHANJAR OPERATION’
Amide the news that Taliban managed to kidnap an American soldier in South Afghanistan, about 4,000 USA Marines, Assisted by 650 Afghan soldiers, launched, on Thursday 07/02/2009 dawn, a major search and destroy operation in Helmand province in South Afghanistan. The operation is, probably, coordinated with the Pakistani Army fighting the Taliban in the other side of the Pakistani-Afghan border (see – Bahadur 06.30.09).
Operation Kahanjar or Strike of the Sword was planned long time before and is not related to the kidnapping of the American soldier despite the coincidence.
The operation is the first of its kind under Obama’s administration and reflects the shift of efforts from Iraq to Afghanistan (see – Obama’s deployment). Operation Kahanjar is aimed to calm Afghanistan as much as possible before the coming national elections in Afghanistan, scheduled to 08/20/2009. The second goal is to bring the war into the Taliban strongholds and to force them into a defensive mode rather the offensive mode they practice.
Brig Gen Larry Nicholson said the operation was different from previous ones because of the “massive size of the force” and its speed.
A Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi said they would resist in various ways and that there would be no permanent USA victory. He added that “a large number” of Taliban were in the area. “I cannot accept the fact that 4,000 US troops have taken part in this operation,” he said, quoted by the Afghan AIP news agency.
It can be assumed that the Taliban will assimilate itself into the supportive civilian population and will use tactics of hit and run, road side and suicide bombers and will avoid any direct confrontation with USA forces.
There was always a strong presence of Taliban in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in South East Afghanistan, predominated by the Pashtu Tribes population.