Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Operation ‘Knife Edge’ on at border

Afghan security forces and their Nato allies have launched a new push against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network along the troubled Pakistani border, senior defence officials said on Tuesday.

US commanders say the network is their most potent enemy in eastern Afghanistan and increasingly capable of launching high-profile attacks in Kabul. Afghan Defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said operation “Knife Edge” was launched two days ago, while a senior defence ministry official said it was “largely against the Haqqani network”.

The Afghan ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the operation was tied to the recent spats between Washington and Islamabad, but gave no details about its scale.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a weaponry exhibition in Kabul, Wardak said the operation would “deliver a crashing blow to the enemy’s capabilities to conduct operations, especially terrorist operations during the winter”.

“This operation is launched along the border because the enemy lately operates along the border on both sides. Sometimes on this side and sometimes on the other side,” said the Afghan chief of army staff, Sher Mohammad Karimi.

A NATO spokesman confirmed only that ‘enhanced official operations’ were ongoing “to reduce the select insurgent network” in the eastern region that borders Pakistan, but offered no operational details for security reasons.