U.S. and Afghan forces dismantled Al Qaeda networks and killed militants in a series of coordinated air and ground raids in southern Afghanistan, military officials announced Tuesday.
“This is one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan,” according to Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner. The U.S. spokesperson in Afghanistan said more than 200 Afghan and U.S. servicemembers cleared two sites, including an Al Qaeda training camp.
Officials did not reveal exactly how many militants were killed.
"This significant operation is a testament to the professionalism and expertise of our Afghan partners and demonstrates the growing capability of the Afghan security forces."
- U.S. Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner
The U.S. military said security forces seized anti-aircraft weapons, rocket-propelled grenade systems, bomb-making material, passports, laptops and phones, among other items. Officials say the U.S. conducted 63 airstrikes as part of the operation.
“The goal of the operation was to degrade the terrorist network in Afghanistan,” Shoffner said. He added, “We struck a major al-Qaeda sanctuary in the center of the Taliban’s historic heartland. This significant operation is a testament to the professionalism and expertise of our Afghan partners and demonstrates the growing capability of the Afghan security forces.”
He said the operation began Sunday night in Kandahar province.