Major Military Operation Under Way in Afghanistan

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The U.S. military has launched a new joint offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The operation involves involves nearly 4,000 Marines and 650 Afghan soldiers. So far, the action is the largest military offensive of Barack Obama's presidency.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck gave more analysis on the situation in Afghanistan on Thursday's CBN News Midday program. Click here to watch the interview.

The operation came as U.S. military announced that one of its soldiers was missing and believed captured by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The operation carries the name -- Khanjar or Strike of the Sword. Its goal is to remove all Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan's southern region before the nation's August 20 presidential election.

"The aim of the assault was to put Marine Corps forces back expeditionary-wise out behind enemy lines," said Captain Drew Schoenmaker of the Marine Corps Bravo Company. "We dropped in to a few places that nobody had been."

The offensive was launched early Thursday morning as thousands of U.S. Marines poured from helicopters and armored vehicles into Taliban-controlled villages under President Obama's strategy to stabilize the country.

The Taliban have made a violent comeback since being ousted from power by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. The Muslim extremist group has wreaked havoc in much of the country's south and east. This resurgence has forced the United States to bring in thousands of additional troops.

The Pentagon has deployed 21,000 additional troops to help stabilize

Military officials describe the operation as the largest and fastest-moving of the war's new phase and the largest Marine offensive since Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.

Pakistan has deployed troops along a stretch of the Afghan border to stop any Taliban forces fleeing ahead of the offensive. Pakistan shares a border with Afghanistan and Taliban militants easily move across the poorly guarded and remote frontier.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.