News / Asia

NATO Forces Launch Border Operations in Afghanistan

Paratroopers in Bermel spend hours tracking suspected Taliban and mapping their fighting positions, May 2011
Paratroopers in Bermel spend hours tracking suspected Taliban and mapping their fighting positions, May 2011

Multimedia

David Axe

U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan are striking back against the Taliban's annual spring offensive with helicopter raids targeting a key border area that has long served as a base for the insurgents.

U.S. Army paratroopers with the 101st Airborne Division fly into a remote district of eastern Paktika province, bordering Pakistan. Bermel district is a key battleground in a new NATO plan for securing Afghanistan, 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion.

Traditionally, the Taliban launches new attacks every spring after spending the winter across the border in Pakistan. The Taliban spring offensive means more improvised explosive devices and more combat.

This year NATO hopes to seize the initiative, by deploying thousands of reinforcements along the Taliban's supply lines, especially in Bermel and other border districts. The Bermel interdiction began with the April reconnaissance patrol by the 101st Airborne Army paratroopers, led by Captain Chris Tanner.

"This is a standard reconnaissance mission into northern Bermel along a historic infiltration route from Pakistan," said Bermel. "The terrain is very inaccessible. We're going in there to see what the terrain is like, to develop it for future operations."

In Bermel, the paratroopers spend hours tracking suspected Taliban and mapping their fighting positions. The Taliban respond with sporadic rocket fire. The Americans fire mortars in response.

The two-day patrol ends with no casualties on either side, though six Americans died a few days earlier in a similar assault in neighboring Kunar province.

The Bermel mission gives Tanner reason to hope.

"We receive, historically, a lot of indirect artillery and rocket fire," he said. "If we can get those numbers to decrease, and also the amount of IED-making material we see moving farther into Afghanistan - it all crosses the border here... so if we can interdict those supplies, it has a significant impact on insurgent activities throughout the region."

The bigger issue is whether NATO can sustain its counter-offensive and retain the initiative.

The U.S. is scheduled to begin withdrawing a small portion of its100,000 troops from Afghanistan in July.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid