Afghan and Coalition forces Saturday started the maneuver phase of Operation Mountain Fury focusing on defeating Taliban resistance in provinces Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, Paktia and Logar provinces.
A press statement stated Mountain Fury is just one part of a series of coordinated operations placing continuous pressure on Taliban across multiple regions of the country in order to provide security to the population, extend the government to the people and to increase reconstruction.
Approximately 4,000 Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and Afghan National Border Police, along with approximately 3,000 US coalition forces in support, are conducting Mountain Fury in east-central Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the ISAF-led Operation Medusa, employing more than 10,000 Afghan and NATO forces, continue to defeat Taliban attempts to establish themselves in the Panjwayee District, Kandahar Province.
In a smaller, but no less important operation, Big North Wind continues to prevent Taliban fighters from threatening Afghans in the Korangal Valley of Kunar Province.
Mountain Fury has been ongoing for several weeks in shaping operations designed to improve security for the Afghan people and separate fighters from the population they would otherwise coerce and intimidate.
The combined operations of Big North Wind, Mountain Fury and Operation Medusa will increase security to the Afghan people and prevent the intimidation that is the trademark of the Taliban, said Army Maj Gen Ben Freakley, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 76.
While we offer stability, governance and reconstruction, the Taliban offer oppression and violence in the form of killing innocent Afghans attending funerals, burning schools and murdering effective governors.
The combined efforts of Afghan and International forces will replace Taliban violence and threats with a future for the Afghan people, the Taliban offer nothing of value, the statement added.
The goal of Mountain Fury is to not only defeat Taliban extremists in this region, but to continue the process of economic growth and development.
Already, $43.5 million in reconstruction has been committed to building 26 new district centers providing the infrastructure for local governance; 77 road and bridge projects to promote commerce and connect villages that have traditionally been separated by arduous terrain; 34 health care programs; 23 electrical power projects; 85 schools; 30 agricultural programs and 120 civic projects.
The statement added the Taliban attacked the innocent Afghan people with improvised explosive devices and threatened and manipulated them. They burn schools in an attempt to deny Afghan children opportunities for education and a prosperous future.
The Government of Afghanistan and the coalition are committed to the Afghan people to in order to rid them of these fighters ensuring the next generation a brighter future.
In southern Afghanistan, approximately 2,500 US army ground personnel and helicopters, along with the US Air Force, have fought along side ISAF coalition forces in Operation Medusa, centered around the Panjwayee District, Kandahar. US forces will continue to support this operation through the successful defeat of Taliban resistance in Panjwayee.
Afghans understand that by working with, and being represented by, a fair and responsive government, they have the opportunity to earn a living, improve their lives and educate their children. The populace is the big winner and the Taliban will be forced to fade away.
The Taliban exert their will almost exclusively on defenseless Afghans where adequate security is not present, said Freakley. The counter to Taliban oppression is a representative local through national government supported by security for the people. The Afghan government, with the support of US Coalition and NATO ISAF forces, are extending the reach of the government to areas that never enjoyed that influence before. It takes time and resources, but collectively we are winning.
Mountain Fury will continue until the conditions of bringing security, construction and growth are met, added Freakley. Afghans welcome peace and security. The Afghan people are tired of war. They want what their government is capable of providing: security, employment, education and a better way of life