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U.S. Military Expands Afghan Operation

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers launched an air assault on Tuesday as a major operation to hunt down Taliban and al Qaeda fugitives expanded in southern Afghanistan, a military spokesman said. The operation, which started at the same time as the war in Iraq last Thursday, is being carried out in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar province with up to 100 men targeted, said U.S. military spokesman Colonel Roger King. He said another large cache of arms, the third since the operation began, was found as U.S. troops swept through the eastern part of the province. Coalition forces conducted an air assault in the Samighar mountains on Tuesday in support of Operation Valiant Strike, King told a news briefing at U.S. headquarters in Bagram Air Base, just north of Kabul. Thousands of U.S. and allied troops are searching Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden and members of his al Qaeda network, prime suspects in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, as well as leaders of the Taliban regime that sheltered them. Full Story

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