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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

10,000 Troops Launch Anti-Taliban Offensive

MUSA QALA, Afghanistan -- More than 10,000 Afghan and coalition forces have begun a massive anti-Taliban operation across southern Afghanistan, the largest offensive since the 2001 invasion that toppled the Taliban regime, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Military forces are "moving forward with large-scale operations" in four southern provinces, Uruzgan, Helmand, Kandahar and Zabul, the military said in a statement.

As the offensive began, suspected militants continued their attacks against the coalition.

A bomb hidden on a bus carrying Afghan laborers to a coalition base in the city of Kandahar exploded Thursday, killing 10 workers and wounding 15. Coalition spokesman Major Quentin Innis said the explosion clearly targeted Afghans working for the coalition.

The military offensive, dubbed "Operation Mountain Thrust," is part of a major push to squeeze Taliban fighters responsible for a spate of ambushes and suicide attacks against coalition forces and Afghan authorities in recent months.

The operation was also timed to coincide with the upcoming transfer this summer of command in the south from the U.S.-led coalition to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"There is no scheduled end date to Mountain Thrust. The coalition will continue operations well into the summer and until objectives are met," the statement said.

The offensive is focused on southern Uruzgan and northeastern Helmand provinces.