8 Taliban Insurgents Dead by Kunar Raid

KABUL: (MEP) – Local Kunar officials said on Saturday at least eight Taliban insurgents were killed in the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), and National Directorate of Security (NDS) joint operation codenamed “Toffan Dara” (Storm Valley) carried out over the past four days in the province, Tolo reported.

The officials said the operation, intended to clear the area of insurgents, was launched on Wednesday morning. The joint clearing operation took place in the Chapa Dara district of the province, said Mohammad Haroon Yousufzai, the head of the Military Media Office in eastern Afghanistan.

“The Afghan security forces have cleared most of the areas of the district and the police will create check-posts in those areas that have been cleared,” Mr. Yousufzai said.

One Afghan soldier was killed and another injured during the operation. No civilian casualties have been reported at this time.

“If the forces need air support, we will seek help from NATO,” Mr. Yousufzai said.

Although the Afghan Air Force has seen progress in recent years, according to experts, it still relies heavily on coalition forces for “close-air support” – the ability to aid ground troops by attacking nearby targets.

Chapa Dara district, the arena of the “Toffan Dara” operation shares its border with eastern Nuristan province, which is regarded as one of the most volatile provinces in the country.

The Taliban has not yet acknowledged the operation.

The Afghan security forces have ramped up operations across the country to clear vulnerable areas of insurgents in preparation for the upcoming 2014 elections.

There are over 350,000 Afghan soldiers fighting the insurgents across Afghanistan. Foreign troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after handing over full security responsibility to the Afghan forces. Though coalition officials maintain that nearly all operational oversight has been handed over to Afghans already.

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