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Thursday, July 2, 2009

US forces launch a major anti-Taliban offensive

Thu, 02 Jul 2009 - PressTV

Pakistan deploys hundreds of troops to a stretch of the Afghan border as US forces launch a major anti-Taliban offensive against southern Afghanistan.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said Thursday that the troops would stop militants fleeing from US forces in the volatile region.

"We've mustered more troops from the other areas of the border' to deploy opposite the Helmand region. It is sort of reorganization."

The section opposite Helmand lies near Pakistan's Baluchistan Province, where US officials believe the Taliban's top leaders are hiding.

Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) into lower Helmand River involved nearly 4,000 US forces as well as 650 Afghan soldiers.

The officials in Islamabad believe that an increase of 21,000 US troops in Afghanistan could further destabilize Pakistan by pushing more militants across the border.

Sources said increased US military activity may also spark an influx of refugees from insurgency-hit southern Afghanistan into the border areas of Pakistan.

The latest development comes while the Pakistani army claims it is battling militants in the volatile Swat Valley and Waziristan region in the northwest of the country in a bid to tackle growing insurgency.

More than fifty insurgents and two police officers have been killed over the last 24 hours in northwestern Pakistan.

The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 prompted Taliban militants to focus their attention across the border in Pakistan, turning the restive regions between the two neighbors into the scene of deadly violence.

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