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NATO, Afghan forces launch operation

The operation in Farah province hopes to engage local leaders in improving the security situation in the region.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 10:58 IST

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), along with Afghan troops, launched an operation in Afghanistan's Farah province that hopes to engage local leaders in improving the security situation in the region.

"The aim of the operation is to engage local leaders and elders to enhance the security of Farah province and oppose Taliban forces involved in criminal activities and recruitment in this region," the ISAF said in a statement on Monday.

Called Operation Wyconda Pincer, it features civil affairs teams, assessments of police checkpoints and compounds, and meetings with village elders, it added.

The statement did not mention how many troops and policemen are involved in the operation but said US, Italian and Spanish soldiers would operate in Bala Baluk and Pusht-e-Rod districts of the western province.

"This operation is in response to a growing number of terrorist acts that have occurred in recent times," said Michael Horan, the ISAF commander in Farah.

Farah and other western provinces are suffering from rising insurgence in the past months.

Eleven people were killed and 20 injured late Monday when a bomb exploded in the capital of Farah's neighbouring province Heart.

Meanwhile, around 7,000 US-led coalition forces and Afghan troops launched Operation Mountain Fury Saturday to wipe out Taliban militants in five provinces of eastern and central Afghanistan.

Due to rising Taliban-linked insurgence this year, Afghanistan has plunged into the worst spate of violence since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.

Over 23,00 persons, mostly Taliban rebels, have been killed in this Central Asian country in the past nine months.

First Published: Sep 19, 2006 10:58 IST