posted on Dec, 11 2004 @ 02:39 PM
Operation Lightning Freedom a winter offensive involving up to 18,000 troops has begun in Afganistan. The mission is to give no respite to Taliban and
al Qaida fighters that usually go to ground in the winter months.
The U.S. military said Saturday that it hoped the new push, dubbed Lightning Freedom, would persuade insurgents to accept an amnesty offered by
President Hamid Karzai that could stabilize the country and allow foreign troops to pull back.
"It's designed basically to search out and destroy the remaining remnants of Taliban forces who traditionally we believe go to ground during the
winter months," spokesman Maj. Mark McCann said. "It's going on throughout the country of Afghanistan."
The operation was initiated after Karzai's inauguration Tuesday as the country's first democratically elected president, McCann said. He didn't know
exactly when it began and gave no details of any specific moves against militant targets.
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The success of this operation would seriously weaken further opposition in Afganistan and give Karzai's regime time to build and train its army and
police forces in preparation for the spring when opposition forces become active.