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U.S. Troops Raid Afghanistan for al-Qaida

About 1,000 U.S. troops launched a raid on villages in southeastern Afghanistan Thursday, hunting for members of the al-Qaida terrorist network in the biggest U.S. operation in just over a year, military officials said. Helicopters ferried troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to the remote, mountainous area as the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his terror network intensified, according to U.S. military officials in Washington. Military officials in Afghanistan confirmed in a statement that the operation, code named `Valiant Strike,’ began with an early morning air assault near southern Kandahar, the former spiritual headquarters of the Taliban, but provided few additional details. “I do not have anything to say about the Kandahar operation at this time,” said Col. Roger King, U.S. army spokesman at the U.S. headquarters at Bagram. The troops left from their base in Kandahar, the former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. Radio transmissions had been detected coming from caves above the villages, said military officials in Washington. Full Story

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