French troops lead Afghan attack on Taliban

AP News
Posted: Dec 17, 2009 5:41 PM

Some 800 French Legionnaires backed by 200 U.S. special forces and Afghan soldiers have gone on an offensive in a valley in Afghanistan where the Taliban killed 10 French soldiers last year, the French military said Thursday.

Spokesman Rear Adm. Christophe Prazuck said several American soldiers were wounded in the operation in the Uzbin Valley east of Kabul. He had no information on the number of wounded, but said the American special forces were posted on a crest of the valley and were targeted from a neighboring valley.

Prazuck called the operation that began Wednesday night a success.

"The objective was to go into a place where nobody has ever been before," Prazuck said by telephone. The operation aimed "to show these insurgents that we can go where we want when we want," Prazuck said.

Coalition forces were withdrawing Thursday night. "The goal was achieved," he said.

Up to 75 percent of the zone has been under coalition control, he said, but one corner of the Uzbin valley was in the hands of insurgents.

The last joint operation of this size dated to June when coalition forces established an outpost in the middle of the Uzbin Valley.

France has more than 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. In August 2008 10 French soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a Taliban ambush in the Uzbin Valley.