A joint clearing operation has been launched by Afghan National Army (ANA) commandos, National Directorate of Security (NDS) soldiers and the Afghan Border Police (ABP) in Dangam district of Kunar province, 201 Selab Army Corps spokesman Mohammad Nauman Atifi said on Friday.
According to officials, the security forces have already regained a number of strategic locations in Dangam and insurgents are under siege in many more. Initial reports indicate that during the operation, dubbed "Red Valley," up to 60 insurgents have been killed and three others wounded.
"The peculiarity of the operation is that it has been launched by the ANA commandos and is supported by the public protection force and border police in Dangam," Mohammad Nauman Atifi said, emphasizing the importance of coordination and collaboration among the security forces. "As per the orders of the National Security Council and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, all areas of Dangam will be cleared of the presence of foreign and domestic insurgents."
Local politicians have expressed support for the operation. "As I know, the operation moves forward in a coordinated and intensive way and we hope that the operation results in the area being cleared of foreign and domestic insurgents," Kunar MP Saleh Mohammad Saleh said.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Haqiqat Nawaz, a local tribal elder, told TOLOnews that the security forces would able to accomplish their goals so long as they are backed by the latest weaponry and technology.
Yet 201 Selab Corps spokesman Nauman Atifi acknowledged that there would be major challenges in the operation, not in the least the involvement of foreign intelligence services. "In consideration of the huge numbers of insurgents taking part in the battle and the support of the intelligence services of the region, we expect some challenges ahead," he said. "Also the area is covered with forest and is mountainous, which is also an issue."
Located on the eastern border with Pakistan, Kunar is one of the most restive provinces in Afghanistan. It has come under rocket attack from across the border several times over the past three years.