U.S. launches new offensive in Afghanistan

September 25, 2010 (WASHINGTON)

An ABC News crew is on the front line embedded with the 101st Airborne Division.

"Wee're about to make history. This is the big surge. We're gonna go out there and fight with valor and tremendous bravery," said Captain Lorne Greer.

In the early morning hours, a massive and powerful force of 8,000 troops launched "Operation Dragon Strike," three simultaneous attacks along a river valley near Kandahar. They call it "the green zone," a Taliban stronghold never before entered by coalition forces.

Much of the first day was spent finding and destroying cache's of Taliban weapons and explosives. Members of the Taliban themselves were nowhere to be found. Knowing the offensive was coming, they fled the area.

Combat engineers using plastic explosives destroyed bomb-making facilities and cleared improvised explosive devices for advancing troops.

The "green zone" is the gateway to Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar, and for years, going back to the Soviet occupation, the Taliban has used it to move troops and weapons and to smuggle drugs.

The region has been a safe-haven for the Taliban, but for now, they're gone. Now it's the 101st's mission to find we're they're hiding and to destroy them.

Another NATO service member was killed Saturday in a bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, the third NATO troop to be killed in the latest wave of violent attacks by Taliban-led insurgents.

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