LONDON, England - British troops have launched air and ground operations in preparation for a "major offensive" in southern Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said Thursday.
Royal Welsh Guards, Grenadier Guards and Scots Guards were involved in the operations to the south of Nad Ali district in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the ministry said.
The operation is being conducted with Afghan security forces and is part of the preparation for a NATO-led offensive called "Operation Moshtarak."
The U.S. Marines have been cranking up plans for a major operation against the insurgency in Taliban-controlled Marjah, a town with 80,000 to 100,000 people, also in the Nad Ali district. That push is focused on a swath of territory considered the last major stronghold of the Taliban in Helmand province.
The insurgency there has influence stretching to Pakistan and the bordering provinces of Nimruz and Farah.
- CNN's Matiullah Mati contributed to this report