British launched biggest military combat

I've recieved a PM from Nick_Jones about this story and I've decided to post it on a main page since this is the first biggest combat deployment of England after the 1991 Gulf War. I know it's not tech related, but hey what's the harm when this is the world's matter?

Britain has launched a major military offensive in Afghanistan, sending hundreds of commandos to flush out diehard Taliban and al Qaeda fighters holed up in snow-covered mountains.

In Britain's biggest combat deployment since the 1991 Gulf War, the marines are operating in some of the world's toughest terrain -- but there is still no hard intelligence on where Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the September 11 attacks, might be hiding.

A brief statement from the Defense Ministry Tuesday said: "Troops from 45 Commando Group have commenced Operation Ptarmigan to clear and search a mountain valley where residual Taliban and al Qaeda forces were believed to be operating."

The commandos, who spearheaded the battle to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentina in 1982, have been specially trained as a rapid reaction force for mountain combat and are part of a 1,700-strong force sent to Afghanistan by Britain earlier this month to join U.S. forces

Lt. Col. Paul Harradine told reporters the commandos had been deployed several days ago. They were now operating at up to 10,000 feet.

"They are above the snow line, some of them. It is very rugged, very windy, snowing at night. Temperatures are below freezing and it is very rough underfoot," Harradine said.

The military focus has now shifted to guerrilla-style war as small bands of fighters from Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic Taliban movement and the al Qaeda network -- blamed by Washington for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States -- try to escape and regroup.

News source: Reuters - British Troops Scour Afghan Mountains

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