By ONLINE REPORTER
April 30, 2007
British soldiers in Afghanistan
A BRITISH led mission involving more than 2,000 NATO and Afghan troops was launched this morning to drive Taliban fighters from their heartland in southern Afghanistan.
The British-led Operation Silicon, launched before dawn on Monday, is the latest attempt to extend the shaky control of President Hamid Karzai's government in Helmand province, officials said.
Military officials said the effort involved some 1,100 British troops, 600 US soldiers and more from the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia and Canada. Over 1,000 Afghan government troops were also taking part.
"The troops are targeting Helmand's Sangin Valley, an area near Afghanistan's strategic ring road that has for too long been under the semi-control of the Taliban," said Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, a British commander.
"It is all part of a longer-term plan to restore the whole of Helmand to government control," Lieutenant Colonel Carver said.
"You have to do it a piece at a time."