A British-led NATO military operation meant to clear the Taliban from parts of Afghanistan has succeeded, the British military said Monday.
The military launched Operation Panther’s Claw to flush the Taliban from parts of southern Helmand Province before Afghan elections next month. Major fighting is mostly over, but a part of the operation that calls for the British military to retain a presence there is ongoing. The British Ministry of Defence said the operation’s success will enable up to 80,000 people in Helmand to vote. “Panther’s Claw has been extremely successful,” said Brigadier Tim Radford, the top British military commander for the operation. “There will be many Taliban who will not be fighting any more.” He said the Taliban suffered “significant casualties.” Operation Panther Claw mirrored a similar operation by U.S. Marines in the area. At least 18 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan this month, sparking intense debate in Britain about the country’s military role there.