Afghanistan

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    Six nations prepare for major Helmand operation

    15,000 troops are set to launch major assaults on Taliban strongholds in Helmand.

    At Camp Bastion the six nations involved in Operation Moshtarak or, are conducting battle preparations. Other troops are carrying out "shaping operations" which have been going on for a number of weeks in Nad Ali district.

    Alongside the British troops are soldiers from Afghanistan, Canada, the United States, France and Estonia. The operation has been planned to remove insurgents from areas of central Helmand not previously cleared by ISAF troops.

    NATO commanders intend to turn the tide this year on the insurgency.
    Lieutenant General Nick Parker, the British ISAF Deputy Commander in Afghanistan, said that Op Moshtarak was the first part of a three-stage plan to increase security in the country.
    He said that after the insurgency in the south had been subdued British forces would move to building capacity in the Afghan National Security Forces and that this would likely become the main effort later in the year.
    The third stage will be transition and the reintegration of insurgents and sympathisers into Afghan society through an Afghan-led reintegration policy.

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