New major offensive launched in north
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): A new major offensive codenamed "Oqab" (eagle) targeting insecure areas to pave the ground for the fourth phase of the security transition was launched in northern zone on Saturday, an official said.
Talking to reporters in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, the 209th Shaheen Military Corps commander said the operation was launched to enable Afghan forces to be ready for taking over security responsibility from their foreign counterparts as part of the fourth phase of the switch.
Brig. Gen. Zulmai Veesa added Afghan forces already controlled nine cities and 91 districts in the north, while another 23 districts would come under their control with the completion of the fourth phase that he said would begin in the near future.
He said the new 18-month-long search operation was aimed at driving insurgents from their strongholds.
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