Coalition troops clear Taliban staging area

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Hundreds of Canadian, American and Afghan troops pushed deep into Taliban country this week as part of an operation to rout the insurgents from an area in Kandahar they use to stage their attacks.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Hundreds of Canadian, American and Afghan troops pushed deep into Taliban country this week as part of an operation to rout the insurgents from an area in Kandahar they use to stage their attacks.

The coalition said its forces faced little resistance from the enemy fighters during the three-day mission, called Operation Khenkakak after a village in the area, southwest of Kandahar city.

No one fired on the Canadians and no one found any improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, said Maj. Luc Aubin, a senior operations officer with Canada’s mentoring team. He added the Americans did encounter some of the makeshift bombs.

But despite the apparent lack of action, Aubin said the mission was a success in that it was primarily planned and carried out by Afghan commanders on the ground.

“It’s harsh to say that because we didn’t find as much as expected that the whole operation was not successful,” he said.

Two Afghan battalions, called kandaks, were inserted into the eastern and western flanks of the village of Khenkakak, supported by engineers.

They worked their way down to another village, Yaru Kalay, which sits on the opposite banks of the Tarnak river.

Canadian and American forces provided backup, and Canadian army trainers accompanied the Afghan soldiers during the operation.

Aubin called the operation a “measured success.” Instead of top Afghan army commanders just giving orders, he said, troops on the ground took their own initiative.

“This is a first in terms of having a commander in one brigade enable his subordinate commanders to do just that, come up with a tactical solution to a situation that’s developing on the ground,” Aubin said.

“He basically gave them the problem to fix, which is a huge mind shift for ANA guys.”

The operation took place in a roughly nine square-kilometre patch of the volatile Panjwaii district, which coalition forces have cleared twice already since the spring.

The area is a major transit point for fighters going to and from neighbouring Pakistan.

It’s Taliban country — or at least it was until tens of thousands of American troops flooded southern Afghanistan this year.

Winning over the locals has proved difficult for the U.S.-led coalition. The Noorzai are the biggest tribe in the area. Within Afghanistan’s complex tribal system, the Noorzai are the most likely to be pro-Taliban.

Friendly locals allow the insurgents to move supplies and weapons up along the Tarnak river up through Khenkakak and onto neighbouring districts.

But in recent months, NATO has sought to disrupt Taliban supply lines, pushing the insurgents off the area’s main arteries and onto small back roads often no wider than a country path.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says she has not received an official request from any other school board for a similar move to online learning. (Advocate file photo)
’Operational pressures:’ Calgary schools shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12

School boards can ask to move online for a number of reasons

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coordination Center of the Russian Government in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The centre was set up as a line of communication with the whole of Russia for analysing and collecting information, promptly using big data and solving arising problems. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Months after hack, US poised to announce sanctions on Russia

First retaliatory action against the Kremlin for last year’s hack

FILE - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during the “Topping Off” ceremony of the New York Islanders new home, the UBS Arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mary Altaffer
Islanders close to selling out inaugural season at UBS Arena

Arena capacity of about 17,000 for hockey

An Uber Eats delivery person carries items near the Japan National Stadium, where opening ceremony and other events are planned for postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with engravings in honor of 1964 Tokyo Olympics seen on the side of the stadium wall behind the fence Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tokyo. Two top officials of Japan’s ruling LDP party on Thursday, April 15, 2021, said radical changes could be coming to the Tokyo Olympics. One went as far to suggest they still could be canceled, and the other that even if they proceed, it might be without any fans.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Officials say Olympic cancellation, no fans still an option

COVID-19 cases have been rising across Japan

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2020 file photo, co-directors Jim LeBrecht, left, and Nicole Newnham, center, from the documentary “Crip Camp” pose with film subject Judith Heumann during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The disabled have a moment in the Oscar spotlight that they hope becomes a movement. LeBrecht, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, says a golden age for disabled films could come if Hollywood lets them tell their own stories. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
The disabled hope their Oscar moment can become a movement

Traditionally the disabled appear only when an actor seeking an Oscar-worthy role plays one on screen

FILE - Diane Warren poses for a portrait at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Feb. 5, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Warren is nominated for an Oscar for best original song for her work in “The Life Ahead” starring Sophia Loren. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
12-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren hopes for ‘awesome’ win

Third movie adaptation of the 1975 Romain Gary novel ‘The Life Before Us’

opinion
Opinion: Waiting 4 months between vaccine doses too long

“It’s not just a matter of potency, it’s a matter of the… Continue reading

Richie Laryea of Toronto FC, left, and Jean Meneses of Mexico's Leon battle for the ball during a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, in Leon, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Toronto FC hosts Club Leon in the second leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 tie holding a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw last week in Mexico. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mario Armas
Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Winnipeg Jets' Dylan DeMelo (2) skates the puck around Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot (72) as he holds off Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) during first-period NHL action in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Most Read