Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Canadians move into Zangabad

Over the weekend, as British and American forces ('supporting' Afghan forces) were busy clearing Taliban from Helmand's Musa Qala, Canadian forces were doing likewise in the town of Zangabad, in Kandahar's Panjwai district. The Brits and Americans met little resistance (though they endured a diversionary attack in Sangin district of Helmand) while the Canadians saw met with heavy fire. The operation, dubbed "Sure Thing", involved a first-time pairing of the Canadian battle group and Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.

Both operations were conducted with an eye to denying insurgents a haven over the petrified winter months soon approaching.

Canadians open new front against Taliban
Push into insurgents' territory part of a flurry of NATO activity in southern Afghanistan as winter starts to impede enemy's movement

GRAEME SMITH

From Monday's Globe and Mail

December 10, 2007 at 5:00 AM EST

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — A Canadian-led offensive opened a new front against the Taliban in Kandahar this weekend, adding pressure on the insurgents as they also faced a major attack from NATO and Afghan forces in neighbouring Helmand.

Canadian soldiers and their allies advanced on foot into the fields around Zangabad, a village about 40 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city, at daybreak on Saturday. An Afghan military statement later said 10 insurgents were killed in the attack, but a Canadian commander said the number was higher, without giving details.

Under the name Operation Sure Thing, the offensive marked the first time Canada's battle group has fought alongside the famed Gurkhas, soldiers of Nepalese origins who have fought under British command since the 1800s. Afghan soldiers also joined the fight. ...

"We have surrounded Musa Qala town, but we haven't entered it yet," Brig.-Gen. Naebi said.

The fighting around Musa Qala was dwarfed by the battle in Kandahar, said Major Richard Moffet, Canada's acting battle group commander.

"Compared to what happened in Musa Qala? Musa Qala is nothing," Major Moffet said.

Embedded photojournalist Louie Palu, travelling with the Canadian troops, saw smoke rising from artillery and air strikes that continued through Saturday, and Canadian soldiers kicking down doors of mud-walled homes.

... In Kandahar, the Taliban territory now being targeted by Canadian forces is familiar ground, having already been captured in Operation Baaz Tsuka during the same cold season last year and later lost to the insurgents in the spring-time. ... (link)

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