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Thousands of US Marines launch huge anti-Taliban drive in Afghanistan

NAWA, Afghanistan (AP) - Thousands of U.S. Marines and hundreds
of Afghan troops are going after insurgents in southern
The military says Operation Khanjar, or "Strike of the Sword,"
started at 1 a.m. local time Thursday and involves nearly 4,000
newly arrived Marines and 650 Afghan forces.
They've moved into Helmand province, which is a Taliban
stronghold. The region is also the world's largest opium poppy
producing area.
British forces last week led similar, but smaller, missions to
clear out insurgents in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar provinces.
Marines Corps Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said in a statement
that Marines will hold the areas they take and transition security
to Afghan forces.

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