As the United States military launched preemptive strikes on Iraq last night, 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne began a two-and-a-half day attack on three villages east of Kandahar near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Operation Valiant Strike, the largest operation in Afghanistan since Operation Anaconda last year, involved assaults by Chinook, Blackhawk, and Apache helicopters with ground support from Humvees. When questioned by reporters about the mission’s timing, US military spokesman Col. Roger King insisted, “Operations in Afghanistan are conducted completely independent of any operations in other sectors…,” according to Fox News. Officials denied Osama bin Laden was the target of Valiant Strike and declined further comment, reported CNN.
Earlier this week, Taliban soldiers ambushed and killed three Afghan soldiers at a post near the Pakistani border. In recent weeks, growing anti-American sentiment has increased attacks in the region. “There is a heightened awareness on the part of all the soldiers of potential for enemy activities based upon the initiation of hostilities in the Iraq theater,” King told the Associated Press.
Security throughout Afghanistan remains a key issue. The Feminist Majority has been leading the call for ISAF expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.