Wire: Pentagon Says Operations to Clear Taliban Will Expand
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that a U.S. Defense Department spokesman said there will be more operations like the one launched in southern Afghanistan to secure a Taliban-controlled district in Helmand Province, and that coalition and Afghan forces will hold such areas after they drive out the insurgent forces.
Defense Department Spokesman Bryan Whitman said the operation in Nawzad District was timed to clear the area of insurgents before next Thursday's Afghan presidential election.
"U.S. forces along with our Afghan partners and the rest of the coalition that is there are trying to ensure that as we run up to the election that Afghans are going to have the freedom of movement to go to the polling places and be able to cast their vote, and to do it in a secure and unfettered manner," he said. "An operation like this contributes to that goal."
VOA News reported that Whitman said there will be more such operations in the coming days, but they will not stop after the election.
"These types of operations you are going to see continue up until the elections, and after the elections," said Whitman. "This is a sustained effort that will be ongoing throughout the country."
The operation in Nawzad, involving 400 U.S. troops and 100 Afghan soldiers, is part of a larger operation by mostly U.S. marines in Helmand Province.
(Report from newswire sources.)
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