New Coalition Offensive in Afghanistan

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops have launched a new anti-terror operation in eastern Afghanistan, aimed at killing insurgents and disrupting their operations, the U.S. military said Monday.

Spokesman Col. Rodney Davis said Operation Mountain Resolve (search) began Friday in Nuristan and Kunar provinces, which are about 95 miles northeast of the capital, Kabul, and border Pakistan. U.S. troops are working alongside Afghan militia, he said.

"The main objective is against terrorism. It is focused on destroying anti-coalition elements, disrupting their ability to operate in the eastern region of Afghanistan," Davis told reporters.

"We want the anti-coalition forces to understand that there is no sanctuary for them anywhere in Afghanistan," he said.

Davis did not say how long the operation was expected to last.

Insurgents from the former Taliban regime, which was ousted two years ago by a U.S.-led invasion, have stepped up attacks in recent months against U.S.-led coalition forces and representatives of Afghanistan's central government, which wields only limited influence outside Kabul.

Members of the Afghan Hizb-e-Islami (search) group, which opposes the coalition presence in Afghanistan, and the Al Qaeda terror network are likely to be the target of the operation.

In Kabul, Jawid Luddin, the spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, said all three groups are part of the "terror problem."

"They come in different manifestations, but they probably are part of the same network," he told reporters. Although Afghanistan's national army is not taking part in Operation Mountain Resolve, the U.S. military has coordinated it with the Kabul government, he said.

Earlier this month, villagers in Nuristan (search) claimed that eight civilians were killed by unidentified aircraft.

The Afghan air force was obliterated during the Taliban's ouster, and aircraft from the coalition now dominate the skies over Afghanistan. The U.S. military said it regretted any loss of life but couldn't confirm the attack. It has launched an investigation.