Operation Mountain Fury
|Operation Mountain Fury|
|Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
A soldier searches for weapons caches in the village of Alizai in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
Afghan National Army
|Commanders and leaders|
|Gen. David Richards||Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani †|
|7,000 (4,000 Afghan and 3,000 ISAF) ||Unknown|
Operation Mountain Fury was a NATO-led operation begun on September 16, 2006 as a follow-up operation to Operation Medusa, to clear Taliban rebels from the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Another focus of the operation was to enable reconstruction projects such as schools, health-care facilities, and courthouses to take place in the targeted provinces.
During the operation, the Taliban suffered large losses during direct battle with NATO coalition forces; as a result, they are expected to focus more on tactics such as the use of Improvised Explosive Devices, according to sources such as NATO's top commander James L. Jones and Canadian defence minister Gordon O'Connor. Jones also linked the large-scale production of opium to increased insurgent violence.
The Canadians continue fighting in Panjwaii
The Canadian forces began reconstruction efforts after major combat operations of Operation Medusa had ceased. But they still encountered fierce fighting. Canadian Forces began the construction of a road, code-named "Summit", from the Panjwaii area to outlying areas including Kandahar city. But the Taliban continued to attack them both in Panjwaii and in Kandahar city with ambushes, IED attacks or suicide bombings taking the lives of Canadian soldiers along with some Americans. The Canadian involvement in operation Mountain Fury was stepped up when they mounted an operation of their own called Operation Falcon's Summit on December 15, 2006. During Falcon Summit, the Canadians gained control of several key villages and towns that were former Taliban havens, such as Howz-E Madad. During the first week of the operation, massive Canadian artillery and tank barrages were carried out in a successful attempt to clear pockets of Taliban resistance.
The Americans go on the offensive
Meanwhile, the Americans began their combat operations against the Taliban forces that were entrenched in the mountains on the border with Pakistan in the east in the provinces of Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, Paktia, Logar and Nuristan. The 10th Mountain Division led the charge establishing many remote outposts in regions that were previously Taliban dominated. These outposts came almost under continued attacks as well as did the American combat patrols which resulted in almost 150 casualties inflicted on the Americans in two and a half months by the beginning of December.
The British attack repelled
On December 5, 2006 the British Marines attacked a Taliban-held valley in southern Afghanistan near Garmsir but withdrew after a ferocious counterattack that withstood air strikes and artillery fire. Scores of soldiers ran across a bridge over the Helmand River under a full moon shortly before daybreak and began sweeping south through wheatfields in the south of the province, the opium center of the world's major producer. Marines initially faced only sporadic resistance but when they advanced, Taliban fighters launched a ferocious, organized riposte with heavy weapons and tried to outflank the British troops. The Taliban withstood barrages of air strikes from AH-64 Apache helicopters, 500 pound bombs dropped by B-1 bombers and withering cannon fire from A-10 ground attack jets before the British finally withdrew after a 10-hour battle. The Taliban fighters, who say they have the expertise to defeat the strongest army, had dug sophisticated networks of trenches often leading from compound to compound. The assault was the latest in a series of battles by British forces around the bridgehead and the short road at the north end of the valley, criss-crossed by networks of ancient canals that make Helmand fertile enough to produce a third of the world's opium crop. The British said they considered the assault a success as they had cleared out areas near the "D.C.," a tiny strip of road and ruined buildings on the eastern side of the Helmand River. But without more Afghan troops to hold the ground there was little hope of doing much more.
Mullah Osmani Killed
On December 19, 2006 a NATO air strike targeting a car in a deserted area of Helmand province killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani along with two other men. He was the top Taliban commander for all of their operations in southern Afghanistan.
The British attack again
The next month, an operation called Operation Clay was launched on New Year's Day. Plymouth-based 42 Commando were engaged in four days of fighting. The British had running firefights for up to four days against fairly coherent sustained attacks of small arms, rockets and indirect fire. About 110 Royal Marines carried out the operation in northern Helmand. During the operation British troops destroyed a Taliban training camp and killed dozens of insurgents, according to the military.
From the 13th to the 15th of January, 2007 Royal Marines fought Taliban forces in the south of Helmand, attacking their positions and a major base. During the fighting one Royal Marine was killed and several were wounded. The Taliban suffered at least 30 killed.
Timeline of events
- September 18–19 people, including 4 Canadian soldiers, were killed by a suicide bomber in the Panjwaye District, Kandahar Province; in Kabul, 4 Afghan police and 11 civilians were killed in two suicide bomb explosions.
- September 19, 11 Taliban and 8 additional militants were killed in offensive operations in Helmand Province; 4 al-Qaeda operatives were arrested in Kabul.
- September 20, 34 Taliban fighters, and up to 10 other insurgents were killed in various conflicts, as well as one Afghan policeman and an Italian soldier serving in ISAF.
- September 21, 4 more Taliban were killed as they attempted to destroy an oil tanker, and 5 were detained by U.S. forces, including a regional commander. One Italian soldier died in a vehicle accident in Kabul.
- September 23, 19 laborers are killed on a bus in Kandahar Province; 25 Taliban die in battle with police in Orūzgān Province; 10 Taliban killed near Helman Province.
- September 24, Afghan and coalition forces killed 63 Taliban in three separate engagements and captured 21 others in a separate operation.
- September 25, Ten Taliban were killed by coalition forces in Paktika , while 2 suicide bombers wounded one American soldier and separately 2 Afghan police were killed in a Taliban attack.
- September 26, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 9 Afghan soldiers, while elsewhere 8 Taliban died in explosions and one Italian soldier died. 2 Taliban were arrested in connection with the suicide bombing.
- September 27, another suicide bomber hit just outside a Canadian base, wounding a civilian. And in other operations 31 Taliban were killed and 20 were captured.
- September 29, two Taliban and an Afghan police officer were killed in a clash and elsewhere a Canadian soldier was killed in an explosion.
- September 30, a suicide bomber killed a dozen Afghan civilians.
- October 2, The Taliban attacked a police station and started a gunbattle in Paktika that killed three police and ten Taliban .
- October 4 to 6, two suicide bombers killed numerous civilians and a police officer.
- October 6, coalition troops arrested a suicide bomber. A Canadian soldier was killed in an explosion on "ambush alley" in the Battle of Panjwaii.
- October 7, a suicide bomber attacked a NATO base, causing no damage. Elsewhere on the same day, the Taliban attacked a patrol, killing one Canadian soldier. And in Pakistan 48 suspected Taliban were captured. Meanwhile, an offensive by American and Afghan troops killed 30 Taliban.
- October 8, 24 Taliban and 1 Afghan soldier were killed. Two rebels were also arrested. On Monday the 9th, 16 more Taliban and an Afghan soldier were killed.
- October 12, two Taliban suicide bombers hit two patrols, wounding bystanders. Also on Thursday, 20 Taliban were killed in fighting with Afghan and coalition forces.
- October 13, a Taliban suicide bomber hit a NATO patrol, killing one soldier and 8 civilians. Later in the day Afghan police repelled a Taliban attack, killing 3 Taliban.
- October 14, eight Afghan policemen and four Taliban fighters were killed and nine Taliban were taken prisoner. Overnight, a battle between Taliban and Afghan police left 3 Afghan police and at least one Taliban fighter dead. Two Canadian soldiers were killed in combat in Kandahar and two were wounded in the Battle of Panjwaii.
- October 15, coalition forces captured 3 Taliban and killed 4, disrupting a bombing cell.
- October 16, two Taliban suicide bombers killed 4 Afghan civilians. That same day, 3 more insurgents were killed.
- October 17, in an airstrike, NATO forces killed 24 Taliban including a man they designated as a mid-level commander. 24 other Taliban were also killed and another 8 more arrested in another incident.
- October 18, ISAF and Afghan forces killed 32 Taliban after an ambush.
- October 19, two Taliban suicide bombers hit, one in Lashkar Gah, and the other in Khost. The first killed two children and the second killed an Afghan police officer. Five Taliban were killed by a NATO airstrike in an encampment in the Gayan district of Paktika province ; ANA fire D30 near the Pakistan border, the first indirect field artillery fires in history of ANA.
- October 20, a Taliban suicide bomber killed one afghan soldier and ISAF forces killed one Taliban and captured 4.
- October 22, 15 insurgents were killed after they ambushed an ISAF patrol; ANA conducted first counterfire field artillery fires near Pakistan border which resulted in 10 casualties.
- October 23, 15 Taliban were captured trying to enter Kabul with explosives.
- October 25, 48 Taliban were killed by NATO strikes at 3 separate groups gathering near Kandahar.
- October 28, Up to 70 Taliban were killed when they attacked a military patrol north of Tarin Kowt, in Oruzgan province. The battle killed one ISAF soldier.
- October 30, 55 Taliban insurgents were killed and 20 injured, and one NATO soldier was killed, in a six-hour battle between Taliban insurgents and elements of Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment in the Daychopan district of Zabul province. Also three NATO soldiers were wounded as Taliban fighters attacked their convoy in eastern Afghanistan.
- October 31, 12 Taliban fighters were killed in an engagement with NATO forces, killing 1 soldier after a roadside bomb killed 3 NATO troops and a suicide bomber killed an Afghan police officer. Also two NATO soldiers were wounded in a suicide bombing in Ghazni Province.
- November 1, 3 militants were killed and one captured by US and Afghan troops in the Khost province. A suicide bomber wounded two NATO soldiers in Kandahar.
- November 3, 6 Afghan police officers were killed in an ambush by Taliban rebels.
- November 4, 7 Taliban are killed in a NATO airstrike.
- November 6, At least two insurgernts are killed by coalition forces and six others are detained, including an Al-Qaeda operative, while one NATO and two Afghan soldiers are killed.
- November 8, 28 militants are killed in two separate engagements, 3 Afghan police are killed in an ambush and three militants are captured by coalition troops.
- November 9, clashes continue, 6 more Taliban killed.
- November 10, NATO forces kill 12 Taliban insurgents.
- November 11, NATO forces bomb a compound in the Bermal district of eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 20 Taliban fighters.
- November 12, NATO forces capture 6 Taliban rebels including an Arab and a Pakistani.
- November 16, Two civilians are accidentally killed by British troops, 6 militants die elsewhere.
- November 23, a mortar attack on a patrol kills one NATO soldier and wounds one.
- November 25, 55 insurgents are killed by Afghan troops, one soldier is killed.
- November 27, a suicide bomber kills 2 NATO soldiers in Kandahar province.
- November 28, two suicide bombers kill one policeman and wound another policeman and one NATO soldier in Herat and Kandahar provinces. Two NATO soldiers are killed and one is wounded when their patrol hits a roadside bomb near Kabul.
- November 29, six insurgents are killed in Kandahar province during an Afghan raid.
- December 1, 16 Taliban are killed and nine are captured, including two top commanders.
- December 3, a suicide bomber wounded three NATO soldiers and killed three civilians in Kandahar. The soldiers responded to the attacks that resulted in the deaths of five civilians.
- December 4, at least 7 Taliban are killed in clashes with NATO.
- December 5, four more militants are shot dead. Two NATO soldiers are wounded in Kandahar by a suicide bomber. A British attack on a Taliban-held valley results in the death of one soldier and wounding of another. The attack is repelled and British forces fail to complete their objectives.
- December 6, Taliban shoot dead five civilians, while clashes in southern Afghanistan kill 5 of their members.
- December 11, NATO airstrikes kill nine insurgents while Afghan troops kill three more.
- December 19, a NATO air strike targeting a car in a deserted area of Helmand province killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani along with two other men.
- January 11, 2007, up to 150 Taliban are killed in battles with NATO forces.
- January 13, 2007, 30 Taliban and one British soldier are killed in a NATO operation.
- January 15, 2007, operation formally declared over.
- "Online NewsHour: News Summary for September 18, 2006". PBS. 2006-09-18. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- "Afghans claim netting al Qaeda plotters in Kabul raid". Dawn. 2006-09-19. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- Khan, Noor (2006-09-19). "11 Suspected Afghan Taliban Killed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- "Kabul crash kills Italian soldier". CNN. 2006-09-21. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- "4 Suspected Taliban Die in Afghanistan". Townhall.com. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- "19 People Die in Afghan Ambush". Los Angeles Times. 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-12-24.[dead link]