The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops launched its largest operation since 2001 against a resurgent Taliban specifically targeting drug lords and rebel leaders in the opium heartland Halmand Province. This province produces the most opium in the world and historically, narcotics fund Taliban operations.
Operation Achilles launched by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will deploy 4,500 NATO soldiers and 1000 Afghan troops and is considered to be the first of the many such operations this year. ISAF says that the objective of this operation is to bring security to the province and allow reconstruction to improve the quality of lives for the Afghans. ISAF has 33,000 troops in Afghanistan and some member nations such as Germany are on notice from the al Qaeda to withdraw their deployment from this mountainous nation.
However, a retaliatory fire from U.S. troops killed scores of civilians inviting large scale protests and condemnations from the public and the government.