5 Jan 2009

Muddy battles with Taliban in Afghanistan

3:13 pm on 5 January 2009

British, Afghan and NATO forces have captured four Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan. Five members of the British forces and about 100 Taliban fighters were killed.

More than 1500 troops were involved in the operation around the town of Nad-e-Ali in Helmand province. It was fought over 18 days and culminated in a battle on 25 December.

The British Ministry of Defence said in London on Sunday that some marines had to travel 60 kilometres while fighting in deep mud. Others were involved in hand-to-hand fighting in trenches, in conditions similar to those World War I.

The operation was named 'Sond Chara' - Pashto for Red Dagger. Its aim was to improve security in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, ahead of a voter registration programme.