Major operation kills 150 Taliban

Fox News:

As many as 150 insurgent fighters have been killed since Sunday in a major offensive involving about 700 U.S. and Afghan troops along eastern Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, a senior military official confirmed to Fox News early Tuesday.

The U.S.-led operation was one of the largest yet in the region, officials told The Washington Post, who described the assault as "one of the most intense battles of the past year."

In a statement Sunday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said more than 600 ISAF and Afghan troops were pursuing Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Kunar and that "a number of insurgents" were killed.

Two American troops were also killed in the battle, according to ISAF.

The offensive was designed to flush out growing numbers of Taliban militants bidding to open up a second front in Kunar, as U.S.-led forces root out insurgents in southern Afghanistan, the Post reported.

"The Taliban know we are bringing our surge of forces, and they realize they can't just let that happen, so they are pursuing their own surge," Maj. Gen. John Campbell, the senior commander in eastern Afghanistan, told the newspaper.

The U.S.-led force in Kunar gave no prior warning of the offensive, unlike the onslaught in Marjah in southern Afghanistan earlier this year.

"We needed the element of surprise in that terrain," Colonel Andrew P. Poppas was quoted as saying.

...

I think they must have achieved surprise. I suspect that this change in tactics was made possible by McChrystal's departure. Usually the Taliban will flea a force that size, if they have an opportunity. Kunar has been the site of several attacks on small US outpost where the Taliban have achieved numerical superiority. The opposite happened here, and the Taliban appear to have lost about three quarters of their force as KIAs.

Bill Roggio has background info on the area of operation.

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