August 27th, 2010
08:50 AM ET

French, U.S. troops end 5-day 'security sweep'

Afghan, French and U.S. troops have completed a security sweep in eastern Afghanistan, a five-day push that led to the deaths of about 40 Taliban fighters, military officials said Friday.

The fighting started Saturday with an air assault and ended Wednesday in the Uzbeen valley. Along with the killings, eight key Taliban operatives were captured. Rockets, mortars, explosives, bomb-making materials, and labs used for counterfeiting were found and destroyed.

The troops consulted the local population during the effort, and "particular attention was paid to cultural sensitivities" during the Ramadan holy period, they said. The U.S. and French troops are with NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.

"This joint operation with the Afghan National Security Forces, French and American troops has been very successful, and it has been an honor for me to lead the largest air assault operation in recent times, especially with regards to the positive results," said French Army Brig. Gen. Pierre Chavancy, commander of Task Force Lafayette.

"The insurgents know now that we can go everywhere they are, and we will remove illegal weapons and ammunition that they intend to use against the Afghan population, the ANSF and coalition forces," Chavancy said.

ISAF also said that three service members died in bombings on Friday, two in the east and one in the south.

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