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Operation Chakhmakh or Operation Battleaxe was a Norwegian-led offensive in Badghis province in northwestern Afghanistan. About 400 Norwegian soldiers from the Telemark Battalion, as well as Danish and German ISAF forces along with 200 Afghan troops are involved, supported by NATO planes. Their objective was to eliminate the presence of Taliban insurgents who had regrouped in the area in the aftermath of Operation Harekate Yolo in late 2007 and Operation Karez in May 2008. It was also the second time that the professional soldiers of the Telemark Battalion had participated in actual combat.
The operation began when units moved into Badghis province in the early hours of May 10, 2010. This operation is the largest Norwegian offensive since Operation Karez in 2008, as well as the largest Norwegian-led offensive since the Second World War. The ISAF forces pushed into the three districts of Ab Kamari, Ghormach and Jawand in the Badghis province. Mechanized infantry with CV 9030 infantry fighting vehicles of the Telemark Battalion is spearheading the operation, supported by elements of the Afghan National Army's 209th Corps and Danish Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks of Kampvognsdelingen. The operation is supported by NATO aircraft.
Norwegian contribution to ISAF
Growing insurgency in northwestern Afghanistan
Extradiction of Mullah Krekar
On March 27, 2010 a Norwegian soldier was killed and four were wounded when their Toyota Landcruiser was hit by an IED by Taliban insurgents 10 km outside of PRT Meymana in Faryab province. The column had been visiting a village and was moving towards a second village as the leading car was hit by an improvised explosive device, killing the driver instantly. As the rest of the column stopped, they were ambushed by insurgents armed with assault rifles, machine guns and RPG-7 rocket launcher. During the two-hour firefight, another two vehicles were destroyed by RPG rockets while four soldiers were injured.
The death occured just a month before the Norwegian troop surge announced by the newly-elected government were to be deployed in Faryab province, and both the Progress Party and the Conservative Party demanded further armoured vehicles to be sent to Afghanistan.
Even more shocking was the announcement of Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid that the Norwegian soldiers had been targeted because of the extradition of the islamist and former leader of the islamist armed group Ansar al-Islam, Mullah Krekar. While the Socialist Left Party and some MPs of the other opposition parties blamed the death of the Norwegian soldier on Prime Minister Jensen's extradition of Mullah Krekar, the Progress Party and the Conservative Party denied this, and emphasized that the announced troop surge was important to combat the increasing Taliban insurgency in the Faryab province.
- Telemark bataljon
- Mechanised Infantry Company 3
- Mechanised Infantry Company 4
- 2nd Battalion
- Company C
- Battery Piraja
- 200 soldiers from the Afghan National Army's 209th Corps.
- Danish Battle Group
- 3 Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks and support units of Kampvognsdelingen
- 60 German soldiers (mainly reconnaissance, signal and logistic personnel).
- 300 hardline Taliban insurgents as well as around 500 irregular fighters.